A few weeks back, a deaf man began attending our church. He is tall, thin, nicely dressed, probably in his seventies. He sits in the very front row to see his interpreter signing the entire service.
It is quite beautiful, her signing.
The first day they were there, the priest introduced the interpreter and the newest member to our parish. I craned my neck to watch all of her signs. And he, enraptured, signed his responses with large, dramatic motions.
We did "The Peace," where we turn to our neighbors and offer each other a little "Peace be with you" accompanied by a handshake. Across the room I heard a sound, belonging to the deaf gentleman. It sounded like a voice muffled underwater, a voice saying "Praise!!" Loud, bold, full of joy.
I saw him turned around to the entire congregation with a giant grin on his face, hands waving high in the air, sharing the peace. Shouting out the words he himself could not hear.
I don't know why, but it filled my heart with such happiness.
Maybe it's because I spend so much time trying to hush CB, trying to hide in a little corner of the room. I loved how he just let himself be known.
After the service, we do our little ritual. We stop at the coffee shop and meet up with family. We hang out and drink the best coffee ev'ah. Then, we hit the Sunday free samples next door at the chain grocery store. This particular day, Dr. Fabulous cut out from the coffee shop early to head to the gym. I had all four girls and my instinct was to just take them home. But the pouts of the three little ones (and the fact that I actually needed milk) sent me heading into the grocery store outnumbered.
CB proceeded to drool all over the fresh bagels, run, drop to the floor, and have a quasi melt down in the check out line. But, my little ducklings stayed in a row, each taking a bag without question or complaint. We all fell seamlessly into the act of a family. We all know the drill.
And oddly, this time, I felt proud to be out in the world, not conspicuous. Proud that with only two hands I managed to keep a hold of CB's coat as she tried to run off, crying and wild, while paying as a long line formed behind me, that my girls were magnificently helpful and not barraging me with a million questions, that I was calm and smiling despite the teenage check-out dude's odd glances at us.
That we made it out alive.
That I didn't care what everyone else thought.
As we bolted to the car in relief, CB like a missile through the crowded parking lot, coat half hanging off, shoe flying off her foot onto the pavement, milk bag threatening to rip wide open, I felt a sense of triumph.
Felt like flinging my arms out into the world, and hollering into the blue sky