christmas present.

we helped my mom downstairs to the couch in front of the tree, so she could directly participate in opening gifts. due to her declining motor skills and her decreased ability to concentrate, she’s relying less on writing, and instead using charades to communicate. our comprehension of her messages have suffered only slightly as we’ve become quite adept at understanding this sign language that isn’t sign language.

there remain deficiences, however, as evidenced earlier today as she pantomimed something we were unable to discern. after finally convincing her to write it down, we made a joke out of it, telling her she was overthinking and that gestural dialogue was simple, even if one didn’t graduate with a degree in kinesics. we produced hand signals, in turn, to prove our theory. i went first, pointing to her, then motioning like i was driving a car, then pointing at myself, and finishing by going, well, insane. you drive me crazy, i exclaimed in artificial exasperation.

my sister went next, turning her fingers into scissors, pointing with her index finger, and closing her hand into a fist with an upright thumb, which she thrust like an umpire calling a baserunner out or a superstitious person throwing salt over their shoulder to keep the devil at bay. we spoke in unison, cut it out, to emphasize the simplicity of the procedure.

my dad took no time to produce his phrase, pointing at his eye, then heart, then wife.

see, mom, you don’t need to complicate things, and then urged her on, now that we’ve shown you how it’s done, you try. as we stared at her, she lifted both hands, middle fingers waving at the three of us.


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