Being a few weeks away from turning one year old, my daughter is learning the fine art of waving. She still needs a little work. Though she’s advanced from lifting both hands into the air like she’s calling a touchdown, she doesn’t actually wave or move anything; she merely lifts in her hand straight up in a ‘heil Hitler” sort of salute.
She waves at everyone. If I need to go out into the garage to take out the trash, she’ll stand at her baby gate and wave me goodbye.
So, my aunt’s mother died this week.
I never met the woman, but being that she was the mother to my mother’s sister-in-law and the grandmother to two of my cousins, I attended her visitation last night with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and daughter. Another aunt showed up shortly after us and came to stand in the line directly behind us.
After trying and trying to get Lydia to wave at my aunt, everyone gave up on her for the evening when she simply would not wave at anyone. Then we reached the casket. Lydia leaned past my sister’s shoulder—since my sister was holding her—to get a look inside and, yes, she saluted the dearly departed. Repeatedly.
Hopefully anyone that saw her merely thought, “why is that kid lifting her hand; does she have a question,” and they had no idea she was waving at a dead person. You can’t very well say, “honey, don’t bother. She’s not going to wave back.” And you can’t laugh. You just gotta stand there, all red in the face, and hope the people in front of you will stop hugging already so you can move on through the line, past the humiliation.
And that is my first “embarrassed mom” moment. Definitely one to keep for the records, I say.