Last weekend I saw one of the most beautiful things ever. I was riding the train uptown bopping out to my iPod and on the train steps a whole family. A mother, father, aunt, uncle, son, daughter and a little baby daughter in her stroller. The father was rolling the stroller so he came aboard first but he held the door to make sure his family got on. Seeing families in action always makes me smile, especially when the father is active. This family made me smile extra hard.Once the train started moving the father wanted to check on his baby girl in the stroller to make sure she was still sound asleep. He tried to look over the canopy of the stroller but couldn't. He even tried to look from the side, but that too didn't work. Finally he decided to ask for help and then it happened.
The father leaned over to his brother and began a series of signs. His brother focused on the signs, checked on the baby and sent a series of signs back to the father. Suddenly his eyes shifted to his wife as she too was conversing with him using another series of signs. Meanwhile the aunt was chatting with the son and daughter, signing away. This whole family was deaf. The communication was so beautiful. The way I was smiling and paying attention to the signed conversations you would have thought I too was deaf. I had to let them know so I typed up a little message on my blackberry memopad and showed it to the aunt. She smiled, signed thank you and signed my message (I hope) to the family. When it was my time to get off the train I smiled a giant smile and waved bye.
I took a year of American Sign Language in HS so a few (a tiny few) signs looked familiar but I certaintly had no clue what they were saying. Nevertheless I was amazed. During that year of ASL I was able to learn a little bit about deaf people and their culture. I gained a greater appreciation for my sense of hearing. I realized that it was my favorite sense and the one I would least want to give up/lose. When I was in the class I joked that not being able to hear the playstation sound when I turned it on would be devasting. Really though it would be not hearing my mother's voice that would cause me the most pain. God willing I'll never have to experience it. However if it where to happen, all I'd have to do would be to think of this family and I'd instantly be encouraged.