Big day done special way

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

As Valentine’s Day nears, my thoughts are drawn back to the sweetest day of my life, which, shockingly, was not a Valentine’s Day.

Actually, it was my wedding day, which happened a mere month and a half ago, on Dec. 20.

For Patrick and me, it was complicated to plan just the right day.

You see, my entire family is deaf. My father and brother are completely deaf, and my mother has a pretty significant hearing loss. For that matter, I can’t hear out of my left ear at all, and my right ear requires a hearing-aid.

For a long time, I have lived in two worlds — the deaf world, with family and old friends, and the hearing world, which holds my husband and my life now.

But we knew our wedding day would bring those two worlds together, and it was essential to me that we make everyone that couldn’t hear feel just as included as everyone that could.

Patrick, who adores my family and is working slowly to try to learn sign language, felt the same way.

So, we looked at everything from that perspective. We nixed the dance floor, opting instead for background music, so that the festivities would be fair.

We added sign language interpreters to the ceremony. We even changed how our ceremony was designed, placing our preacher with his back to the audience so that we could face him and the audience at the same time.

And it was fantastic. On our wedding day, all our friends — hearing and deaf — came together to give us a day full of life, celebration and, most of all, love. My little brother, as one of the wedding party, bonded with the other groomsmen by playing football and pulling pranks on Patrick — things you don’t have to speak to do.

My parents laughed and traded hugs with Patrick’s family. Around me, I heard people speak with their voices and watched people talk with their hands, and it was all a beautiful blur.

So for Valentine’s Day, enjoy your conversation hearts and bouquets of roses. I’ll sit with my wedding pictures, probably as Patrick plays video games, and savor the memories of when my two worlds became one perfect day.