Also, did you know today is Flag Day? I didn't either, 13 years ago, until dad took us 3 kids to the cafeteria to get food while we were visiting mom and newborn Tommy in the hospital. All the plates, napkins, and cups were red white and blue.
Ever since, Tommy has absolutely loved the red white and blue combination. I crocheted him a flag blanket one year, but it was so thick (I did single crochet the whole way through) that it was always too warm for him to use...but it made for a good "picnic" blanket. (Picnic meaning eating on the floor in front of the TV).
Whenever I made snickerdoodles with him, he wanted to make them red, white, and blue. I would divide the dough into thirds, knead red and blue into two of the bowls, and then put bits of each color together to roll into a ball. Tommy would then roll the ball in cinnamon sugar, and squish them with the bottom of a drinking glass before I put it into the oven.
Tommy also sometimes chose red, white, and blue earmolds for his hearing aids. I would do the same, sometimes.
When I was growing up, I loved my WeeSing America cassette and song book. The voices were very easy to understand--enunciated and at just the right frequency for me to hear. I would read and sing along to the tune and words in the song book. And when Tommy was growing up, I bought the CD version--and he also loved to sing along. Especially since they were singing patriotic songs. Because, of course, his birthday being on Flag Day.
Speaking of music, I bought a T-coil earhook that is basically the deaf version of the iPod earbuds, to go with my iPod. He absolutely loved actually being able to listen to music from an iPod, including the WeeSing songs. Once, though, I realized that he had the sound way, WAY up loud, and I got worried. I told him that it was going to make him MORE deaf if it was that loud...I think I scared him with bit of info, the poor thing. I hope he's taking good care of his ears.
Last I heard, he still played soccer, probably with his trusty red sweatband around his head. It helped keep the sweat from trickling down into the microphone of his hearing aids, thereby keeping it functional. I had one of the Dry and Store machines from when I first got my cochlear implant, and sometimes I would put Tommy's hearing aids in there after a particularly sweaty day to help dry them out. In my opinion, it works much better than the passive Dry Aid Kit, which I had used for years.
Once, Cochlear Americas' website store had a glitch, and accidentally sent $200 gift cards via email to several people. I thought it was real, that I won something, so I immediately tried to purchase a Dry and Store for Tommy, since they were expensive. Unfortunately, that was when I found out that the gift card was a mistake. I wish I had more money then to give him one of those Dry and Stores before I was disowned, but hopefully my parents have purchased one, themselves. I mean, it saves money in the long run, if the hearing aids can last longer, right?
Tommy loved cats. I think he brought out the inner cat lady in me. I was solely a dog person. A cat bit me once when I tried to pet it like a dog, and I'd steered clear of cats for a long time. But after Tommy kept asking for a cat as a pet, eventually my dad bought two kittens from the Humane Society--both orange tabbys. Tommy named his Tiger, and Anna named hers Cheetah. (after the Cheetah Girls...though they were both boys). Those kittens won me over. They loved to sleep on my bed in the basement, because it was far away from the hubbub upstairs, what with the dogs and all the kids.
Last I heard, my family bought two more kittens--so as far as I know, they have 3 dogs (assuming Bailey is still alive, and they haven't adopted more) and 4 cats. May the animals be a source of comfort and security for the little ones.
and I hope and pray that dad isn't being an asshole to Tommy about him being hard of hearing. I know I've talked about it before, so I won't go into detail here. But nothing makes me more angry than a sense of unfairness or injustice, particularly surrounding being hard of hearing. No, just because we can't hear doesn't mean we're being disrespectful.
Anyway. Happy birthday, Tommy, and I hope today is low-stress for you <3