The Right Stuff
This weekend, I’m heading north a bit to attend my nephew’s wedding. Now, normally that’s not too much of a story…but this is a special situation. You see, his mother — my sister — and her husband are both profoundly deaf.
Together, they have raised five children — all hearing. The three older girls were his from a first marriage and the two younger boys are theirs together. This handsome young man is the elder of those two boys and my godchild. He was born two months premature in 1981. He was just a wee sprite but even in the NICU, he responded to the music the nurses played to soothe the tiny infants. After five weeks he came home and in eight short months he had a baby brother. That baby grew up to be a Speech Pathologist that works with stroke victims, teaching them to speak again.
His big brother, however, never had such a calling. While he diligently handled his parents’ business dealings and ordered for everyone when they went out to eat, he found music to be his calling when he was about 10 years old. He knew, even then, that this had to be his life. The “muses” kept calling him…so strongly that he ended up teaching himself trombone, trumpet, piano and guitar. He became an all-state tenor in high school and went to college on a music scholarship. He worked so hard to improve his craft and made extra money as the music minister and organist at two different churches each weekend. (I am not kidding, here.)
Over the years, I have had the privilege of hearing him sing at my grandmother’s 100th birthday party and then five days later at her funeral. The birthday party was four days after 9/11 and this fine young boy initiated a version of God Bless America among the hundred or so party-goers (fiercely Cajun and fiercely American). Goosebumps.
Right after Hurricane Katrina, he again amazed us by singing and playing for my father’s (his namesake) funeral. I still cannot hear How Great Thou Art without getting choked up at the thought of that moment. My Daddy was SOOOO proud of his grandchildren. To have his oldest grandson pay him such an honor surely made his heart sing.
Through music, he met a lovely young lady who is equally talented and loves him unequivocally. Their lives are surrounded by music and they are pursuing their passions. He is teaching middle school music while pursuing a Masters in Music, while his fiancee’ just received her undergraduate degree in Music with the intention of teaching, as well. His long-term goal is to become a conductor. He is working on a requiem mass for his parents so that when they are finally able to hear his music, it will all be in perfect harmony.
I’m still in awe of this young man and his brother and all they’ve accomplished despite adversity. I am so proud of them and what they’re doing with their lives. It’s so poignant to me that these two boys are involved in things that their parents can’t partake in. (However, I must add that my sister is the best dancer I have ever seen.)
Mr. D. and I will be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary next week (on Mini DD’s birthday) and seeing this young couple so in love and dedicated to each other while they chase their dreams is a sweet reminder of why we did what we did so many years ago.
And, for this young groom, I am ecstatic that music has brought him love, in multiple forms.