The school’s summer fair was imminent and there was to be a talent contest too, not only our daughters promised the crowd a catchy tune but they hoped the general public would be bowled over by their signing they had taught themselves – especially. To raise the profile of a visual language they had come to learn and accept as an alternative.
My daughter’s expression was one of such concern that I looked outside – The day had looked set to be a great day out in the school’s grounds but lo and behold, the heavens opened. It had started pouring cats and dogs! Not literally of course (!) though I know some people would have preferred it to rain men instead 😉 Each to their own.
It now was time for us to go, grabbing my oversized “family” umbrella; we hurriedly splashed our way into the school only to find pandemonium. Everything and everyone was getting soaked wet through. We stood in the playground a while, cherishing every sense the rain provoked. The light changes, the air felt cooler, the rain refreshing faces. Musical tinnitus wanted to take over to the tune of “I’m singing in the rain” Yet I had to refrain…. and contain myself.
Whilst waiting in anticipation for our daughters’ turn, I could see people really straining to hear what another was trying to say. “If only they could lip read” I thought, and “if only they could sign”. For if they could, they would not be experiencing any problems or restrictions whatsoever in communicating. The noisy chatter and the blur of people, not only in the background, was starting drain my energy, all by trying to focus on what was going to happen next so I did not miss the start of our daughters’ performance.
I was determined to make the best of this moment, as a mother and as a deaf person. I decided to just concentrate on the stage and watch all the children revel in their newfound confidence. There suddenly appeared our daughters on stage. As a mother, I fumbled for my mobile phone and pressed record, my trembling nerves seemed to synchronise with my daughter’s yet as a deaf person, I very much loved each and every second of this sensational moment albeit visually.
After all, how often is it we get front row seats to a live signed song on stage?? Especially by two very (brave) young girls who are extremely shy about performing to the public. A choice they decided to make themselves, was one that deserved cheers and a round of applause. Looking around me; I could see amazement and pride beaming from amongst the crowd. It was as though they had never seen a performance of the like before and whom I am certain of, most probably had not.
Fidelma, who was so proud of them both expressed that “It was a true pleasure to watch two normally quite shy girls up on the stage sharing something that they both knew was pretty special. Not everyone realised they were signing (probably thought it was just actions) but those who did were very impressed and were all talking about it. Watch this space; the girls will be back with more songs and signing…. (Aoife loves having a ‘secret’ language to share with Nidaa!). What a great way to learn to sign and raise awareness without even realising it. Well done girls!”
My mother who is also deaf had come along for the whole experience and this was her reaction at the end of the day “Just to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the summer fair, every stall holder (parents and teachers) appeared to be very deaf aware and communicated with me very clearly (obviously not with sign language but spoke clearly and sooo easy to lip read) so Sara, I would say you have made more of an impact over the years than you realise x”
And last but not least, I shall leave you with one more video which was shared to our FB group earlier on this very same day. Here is a video which was done by Firbeck Academy, who has a singing choir and a signing (British Sign Language) choir. They have come together to do the hit ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. Enjoy.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
(Apologies in advance for the poor sound quality – the noise was indeed “unbearable” as Fidelma described it and some silence would have been very much appreciated during the talent contest. Nonetheless, very proud of both the girls.)