Friday, February 1, 2008

Teeny Weeny Bit of ASL

So a long time ago, in college, I took two years of American Sign language. And I stopped doing it about the time I felt my fellow classmates were about to vow a life of silence. Seriously, I was really turned off by it during that time. I felt like it was all or nothing. I think ASL is an amazing language and has a distinctive culture, but I really struggled with the fact that I could hear and didn't want to embrace the culture as my own. I have always been drawn to sign language, from as long as I can remember. I always thought they maybe I would have a deaf child one day...who knows. Everytime they check for my babies hearing I still wonder. But three 3 hearing children so far.

Fast forward to the last few years. My animosity has disolved and of course I wish I'd kept it up more. Especially on a day like today. On my monthly excursion to Costco, the store I love and hate. So, after completing my list and feeding my kids hotdogs we found a checkout line. The checker was unusual quiet, but very friendly. A big ole' guy. Anyway, I asked him if he was deaf and he was. I could answer everything else in sign and talk a little bit with him (sign language and me are hard because of the fact that I'm always holding a baby for like the last 5 years and its hard to do it one handed!). But I was glad to be able to show my kids a little. And connect with this man and maybe brighten his day. Cause he smiled so big.

There was another time a few years out of college where I'd lost a lot of the language and I was in the temple. Someone came and asked if anyone signed cause someone needed a translator. Oh great, I thought. I'm like a two year old talking...please hope there is someone else. so I said nothing, until nobody else was helping and they asked again. But I did help that man find who he was looking for, but I was shocked at how much I'd forgotten and embarrassed.

But the barrier was broken down when I moved to California and me the most amazing girl. Aimee Walker. Seriously, she is my favorite person...and funny if she finds this on my blog. But unknowingly she helped me love sign language again and she could 'talk' to anyone whether they signed or not. This girl just glows. And I'm glad my cool cuz Ali is a pro now too.

Enough rambling, but I'm glad to have taught my kids some of it...it sure is helping in those non-speaking years. Milk, cookie, more, please. And that way we can always have a secret (or not so secret) code to say I love you.

5 comments:

English Garden said...

OOhhh! you are so good at ASL, I love the fact that Sara has been able to say sorry and please for the past few months. Cool with the guy at costco.

Heather said...

When we were kids, we learned to sign the alphabet. I think one of my sister's used it to cheat on a test. When I worked for the United Way, I loved to watch the interpreters sign in meetings. One of our agencies was AIDB(Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind), and their director was deaf. So anytime he was at a meeting, he brought an interpreter. My niece, who has severe autism, is totally non-verbal. They taught her a few signs at school that she sometimes uses. They didn't stick with it very long for some reason. I think she would pick up alot more of it if they just spent more time working on it with her.

christy said...

that's awesome and i'm sure you did make that guys day. chinese people get excited when cory speaks to them in their language. it's funny sometimes because they answer him and then realize he just spoke their language and they are like amazed this white boy talks to them in their native tongue.

Amber said...

That's cool. We are really trying it with Morgan right now, so we'll see how fluent I become.

Nash said...

I have a friend from idaho named aimee walker. I have signed alot with vance and it's a great feeling to see their wheels turning. I love when he initiates the signs.
I bet you made that man's day.