If we could rewind time and we went 15 years or so back, to Kate’s grade school days, we’d see her making friends with a girl who was deaf. I’m sure it was one of the million different things Kate did that day and it was one of those things that made a difference. It shifted the sails in her life. She became increasingly involved in the deaf community as time tick-tocked along. She eventually found herself in the role of an American Sign Language interpreter, and later, met Ben, who is also deaf.
We’re always amazed at the unpredictable life events that end up being the seeds of a loving relationship.
When we first met Kate and Ben, I thought I blew it. We met at a Second Cup in Halifax’s Bayer’s Lake and we were chatting over coffee to see if we’d be a good match for each other. My understanding of the deaf community was, I thought, pretty good. After all, I’d studied it for a full semester when I was completing my MA in applied linguistics. I know now that my understanding was just academic (i.e., abstract and pretty empty). Chatting with Ben, I realized I had a million questions. Like, how do you have heated arguments in sign language? Can you yell with your hands? When I asked them how they navigated arguments (only having met them 20-30 minutes prior), I immediately felt a surge of social anxiety. It’s a pretty personal question and I asked it pretty impulsively. You might imagine my relief when they answered my question and didn’t seem put off by my curiosity.
It was the best when, days later, they emailed and told us that they’d like us to be their photographers. It was also amazing to have written correspondence with Ben. How cool it was to suddenly have the ability to chat with Ben directly! His emails and Facebook messages were all peppered with his personality.
I still have a million questions about sign language. Like, is there poetry in sign language? Songs? Presumably it’s hard for deaf people to understand rhyming words, and I wonder what interesting ways the deaf community communicates that would be very hard for me to understand…
On the morning of Kate and Ben’s wedding there was a sense of excitement and motion. Rae stayed with Kate as she and her girls got ready at the salon, and then later at her mom’s house. Before putting on her wedding gown, Kate tried on the dress that her mom wore during her wedding. Meanwhile, Ben, his dad and his brothers were all out bonding and golfing. It was actually at a national golf tournament that Ben was competing in that he proposed to Kate. They later all got ready at Acadia. And Kate’s dad was doing heroics at the restaurant Troy (in Wolfville, Nova Scotia). He built a stage, set up sound and light, and strung up almost 100 mesmerizing lanterns on the outside patio.
The remainder of the day was just as family and friend oriented, and…..breath-takingly beautiful.