We are a hand-gesture family. We use ASL to communicate with J and we gesture broadly with our hands. That part is cultural…it is often said that if Puerto Ricans sit on their hands they won’t be able to speak freely. I don’t know how true that is of just Puerto Ricans; I’ve heard the same said about Hispanics in general and also of Italians. The truth of the matter is we flap our hands around a lot, sometimes to “say” something and sometimes just to emphasize something. The latest addition to our hand-gesture vocabulary is the motion that imitates J’s scrum cap strap being removed.
Today this hand gesture was used spontaneously.
It wasn’t produced by me.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, J himself used the scrum-cap-strap-being-removed gesture. He did this after we got home from the bus. I was distracted sorting mail and hanging my jacket in the closet, and I turned around to find J looking intently at me. His hand, swiftly and intentionally, made the gesture. I almost cried with joy.
Taking the scrum cap and Rasta hat as soon as we arrive home from the bus is now part of his everyday routine. Glory be!!!!
Phasing out the headgear is becoming easier, or at least it seems that way. As usual, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know that being alert to the possibility of impending doom is not healthy; anxiety is a silent killer, they say, but I don’t see it so much as anxiety as I do preparedness. I read cues in the way J moves and sounds, and I try to come up with ways to alleviate his concerns sooner rather than later.
You may call BS on this if you’d like. I know I am anxious a great deal of the time, but I try to face it with a shrug of my shoulder. What was it that Shakespeare wrote about Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing’s Act II, Scene 1?
In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Yea, my lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy
side of care.
That’s me. I try to keep on the windy side of care…gusts and all. It doesn’t always work. I spend a great deal of time pausing to listen to the sounds that emanate from J’s bedroom. I read into the coos and giggles, into the shuffling of his feet and into the silence. That instinct that I developed when the children were newly born and I had to wake up to feed them or in response to every whimper from their room is intact.
With Spring Break starting tomorrow at 3 PM when J steps off the bus, I’m feeling a little stressed out. I will have to entertain J, phase out the hats, and keep my sanity…if the weather holds up this will all be easier. Pray for the weather to hold up.
All in all, the hats are no longer an imperative issue. I can now move my hand to the left of my chin and J automatically knows what I mean. I can now forget briefly that it is our habit to take off the hats as soon as we get home and J reminds me. Like the creatures of habit that we are, removing the hats is becoming one more habit in our repertoire. Like brushing our teeth, making our bed, doing our laundry…taking off the hats is part of our schedule and, hopefully, in short order will become second nature to all of us.
That’s where we’re at, friends. Our hand gestures are pointing us towards hatlessness in increments of fifteen minutes…we can now go for over two hours a day here and there, and maybe by the time Easter rolls around we’ll be able to go four hours. I will flap my hands and then put them together in a pleading gesture to achieve this. Heck, I will stand on my head if need be…that’s how much I miss the sight of my son’s constantly bare head.
Tomorrow is another day…I feel more progress lurking there. On the windy side of care, with all this hand-flapping I might just take off, don’t you think?