I can honestly say that we rarely have major mistakes or misunderstandings due to the fact that Chance is deaf anymore. Chance can hear so well with his implants combined with his being the ripe old age of 10 that we rarely have those heart breaking incidents that make our hearts cry because Chance missed some major event due to his deafness.
We had one of those during the children's program at church when Chance was about 5 years old. One of the songs the kids were singing had signs to go along with it and Chance loved that song. Unfortunately, Chance missed the first few notes of the song, so even though he was sitting right out front, he did not start with everyone else and it was kind of his song. As all of the kids around him started singing and signing, Chance looked around and burst into tears. I quickly joined him on the stage and tried to catch him up to speed, but he wanted them to start over so that he was ready. Programs usually don't stop and rewind though. He was heart broken.
We had another one of those moments on a train bond for the North Pole this past week on the North Pole Express. We had cookies and yummy hot chocolate, read stories and sang Christmas carols. All of this culminated with our arrival at the North Pole where Santa boarded the train and visited with each child. You can imagine the excitement and bustle that accompanies a train car loaded with children who are visiting with Santa.
When Santa got to our seats, we hurriedly gathered all of the kids together for a group photo. The lighting in the train car was dim and it took us a few seconds to get our camera on the right setting. After getting a very cute picture, it was time for each of our kids to tell Santa what gift their little hearts most desired for Christmas. Santa was a little bit in a rush this year and unfortunately, Chance was the child closest to Santa and he missed the question of "What do you want for Christmas?", and instead sat grinning his pleasure at being right next to Santa. Chance's dad and I had to point out to Chance that he needed to hurry and tell Santa what he wanted, since Chance had not heard the cue. If only only one of his siblings had been next to Santa to get the ball rolling with the gift requests, because it took Chance a few seconds to realize that it was his turn and he only got one little sentence out before Santa was hurriedly on the move to the next child.
It should be noted that we have ridden on the North Pole Express train several times over past Christmas seasons and usually the visit with Santa goes off with out a hitch. I think Santa was in a hurry to make sure he got to visit with all of the kids since we were on the first train car and their were many more cars loaded with waiting children.
It should also be noted that Chance is a dedicated believer, wondering over the magic of Santa and his reindeer and delighting in the whole Christmas season. He was therefore a little crest fallen at Santa's hurried manner since in all of the bustle and noise, Chance did not always hear things the first time they were said.
After Santa had moved on to the next row of kids, I saw that Chance looked a little bewildered and upset so I pulled him down next to me and asked in a cheery voice what he had asked Santa for. Chance hung his head as he tried to hide the tears that were forming.
"I didn't get to tell him I wanted a rubber band gun." Chance whispered. " I don't think he heard me because he was walking off."
This was the first I had heard about a rubber band gun and it turned out that Chance was hopping to rely the message to Santa that he wanted a long board AND a rubber band gun for Christmas.
When you are a true believer in the magic of Santa, this is a devastating development.
Luckily, Mrs. Claus comes through the train a bit after Santa, so after I explained that Chance was not able to tell Santa all that he wanted, Mrs. Claus got down at eye level with Chance and told him that she would give Santa the message with assurances that Santa really listened to her and she had some pull as far he was concerned.
So Chance is hoping that the message did indeed get passed on. He has been talking about the wonders that a rubber band gun would bring into his life and used the topic as the basis for his persuasive paper he had to write in 5 grade writing class.
I guess we'll see when we come out to see what is under the tree on Christmas morning.