I never liked to sign at home, though, and I wish I could tell you why that is, but I haven't got a clue. I was fine with it at school but insecure signing at home. Maybe because at school, I was one of several deaf/hard of hearing students but at home, I was the only one with hearing loss. Was signing at home an uncomfortable reminder that I was "different"?
My parents and brothers do know a little bit - in typical BOY fashion, my brothers delight in signing "turtle" and "poop" over and over and over again. Eye. Roll. They all know how to sign the alphabet and that comes in handy when I just can't understand something they've repeated several times. Sometimes just signing the first letter of the word they're trying to say makes something click and I'll figure out that, doh, they were saying "mother" and not "brother."
But for the most part, I don't sign with my family or hearing friends, just with my deaf and hard of hearing friends. When I was growing up, my interpreters used CASE with me - Conceptually Accurate Signed English (others may know it as PSE), which uses ASL (American Sign Language) vocabulary but English word order and grammar. Many people don't know that ASL is actually considered a foreign language with its own grammar and syntax. I can understand ASL but I wouldn't say that I'm fluent in signing it myself. After a few years of being out of touch with the deaf and hard of hearing community, my signing grew rusty. Now, though, I feel like I'm getting my fingers back, though I'm not quite sure what brand of sign language I'd say I use. It feels more like a cross between CASE and SEE (Signing Exact English), which I lovingly refer to as LSL - Lucy Sign Language. ;) I'm thankful that my deaf and hard of hearing friends are patient with me as I re-learn everything!
Sometimes I wonder if I should be encouraging my hearing friends and family to learn a few more signs. What if my hearing loss progresses? How will we communicate? And not that I'm ancient by any means, but the older I get, I'm finding that I have less patience to keep up with groups of hearing people... maybe if I taught my close friends and family to be more fluent, our conversations would flow a little more smoothly. Plus, I watch a lot of small children and just welcomed a sweet little nephew into the world over the weekend. Children are hard for me to understand and I'd like to find a fun and easy way to teach them to sign so we can still communicate and enjoy each other.
How about you? Is sign language a part of your life?