There are moments in parenting that make all the hard and mundane parts worthwhile. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago and I want to make sure to record it.
We have a woman in our ward who is deaf. Her name is Fay. She doesn't always come to church and when she does she doesn't always stay very long. Her communication is limited to the two people in the ward to know sign language and the few more who go out of their way to say hello. Fay also happens to work as a stocker at the local grocery store. When we run into her at the store the kids and I try and use our very limited sign language skills to say hello and communicate a bit with her. We don't speak New Zealand sign language, which is different from American sign language, we only know very limited American Sign language learned from watching "Baby Signing Time". Even so, Max and Maya started looking forward to seeing Fay at the grocery store and using some of their signs.
I ran into Fay at the grocery store shortly after Christmas. With out limited communication I understood that she had spent Christmas alone as her brother was out of town. Knowing we were going to have the missionaries over for dinner on New Years day I asked her to join us. Fay wasn't at church on New Year's morning so I wasn't sure if she would arrive for dinner, but thankfully she did. We ended up having 10 people over for dinner that night. I tried to write notes to Fay during dinner keep her involved in the conversation but I still worried a bit that she had felt left out.
The next Sunday at church after the sacrament was passed Maya saw Fay sitting in the front row of the chapel across from her sign language interpreter. Maya asked if she could go and sit with her. I told her it would be alright as long and she could sit quietly, which is a hard task for a three year old. Cautiously Maya walked to the front of the chapel, with a book under her arm, and wiggled in next to Fay. I saw a big smile come across Fay's face. Amazingly Maya stayed there for the rest of the meeting sitting quietly while drawing in her book.
I doubt Maya and Max understands what it means to be deaf. I'm quite sure Maya doesn't know that Fay doesn't hear when she talks. But what she does know is that it no one likes to sit by themselves during church. She also knows how to be a friend, which makes me so proud to me her mother.