Silence Can Be Golden
I have a cousin who is deaf, and I loved to try to finger spell to her when we were kids. It made me feel important, and made her feel less left out. But the real love for signing came when I was doing ABA therapy. Most of my kids with Autism were nonverbal, and we always did sign first. (I could go into the research of the advantages of signing over picture exchange, but that's another story entirely...)
I learned to sign with my kids. Basic things, harder things. Became somewhat fluent in rudimentary ASL.
My husband's mom was an interpreter for the deaf at their church, so my husband knew sign language before we got married.
We have found this to be a very good thing over the years.
So many situations where words are not appropriate, and signing fills in those gaps. When we're on the phone. When we're trying to communicate something from across a room. When someone else is speaking...
A discreet conversation takes place with our hands, and no one is the wiser. Now the signing is rubbing off onto our kids. Someone gives them a present, and a understated "thank you" sign and a meaningful look reminds the child to thank the giver. Signing "later" or "wait" has headed off tantrums in the past.
It's something that I learned, but never knew I'd use it as much as I have. And I don't realize how much I do use it until I'm around someone who doesn't. :-)