My mom and I had decided to go to Dunkin’ Donuts as a treat to ourselves after a long day of errands. I’m nine, so this is the most amazing thing that could happen to me. We look at all of our options, and I’m feeling rabid for sugar. I can smell the sweet dough in the air and my stomach is screaming at me.
I turn and sign to my mom. “What do you want me to order?” I’m already used to being an interpreter for her and am fully aware that I am her voice in public.
“You choose anything you want for both of us.” She smiles at me, knowing that this is a dream come true.
Even though I’m young, I’m very conscious of the eyes on us as we sign to one another. I don’t mind much, but I don’t really understand why everyone feels the need to stare at two people communicating.
I walk up to the counter with my mom, eyeing the chocolate donuts. The man behind the counter looks at me with sad eyes and greets me.
“Hi honey, what can I get for you two?”
I tap my fingers on my chin, not really sure why I am, I just know that I’ve seen people in movies do it while they think.
“I would like the double chocolate donut and the chocolate donut with sprinkles, please and thank you!”
He grabs the donuts and hands them to us and my mom pays, while I examine my goodies.
“Don’t leave yet, give me one second.”
The man turns around and grabs another donut, while I translate what he said to my mom, both of us standing there, confused.
He hands us a chocolate glazed long john, which I add to my treasure.
“I’m sorry your mom can’t hear.”
“Okay, thank you!”
My mom and I walk out and she asks me what had just happened. I knew that this situation was weird, but I was too young to understand just how weird this was. Things like this happened fairly often, and it wasn’t until much later that I had understood that I was being pitied for my parents being disabled.