Waving in a new generation of secret family wavers

No one has ever seen this before.

That’s the great thing about things that are secret. It’s between you and the other people in on the secret.  And until now, that has meant just me and my family.

If you promise not to tell, I shall pass this great and glorious family secret on. It has already been passed on to a new generation, so perhaps it is time to share this glorious tradition with a wider audience. I refer to the secret family wave. Not that the telling will be all that helpful, because our little family secret wave is so darkly hidden that few outside the family would recognise it, even if flagrantly waved in front of their faces (which ironically is actually where it occurs).

The wave was created at some point in my children’s schooling and was meant as a little personal prompt between me and them. My third son, for example was an air force cadet and while on parade was not meant to have contact or make eye contact with his parents watching on the sideline. But I could send him my secret wave and he could smile inwardly as he marched past.

I had children who were Jake the Peg, Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, the Big Bopper and one of the girls in Grease (and this was just my sons) and while frocked up (literally) for the roles, it wasn’t cool to have Mum in the audience waving away.

And so the family secret wave was formed. The wave occurs with the left hand, placed demurely beneath the chin, knuckles pushing under the jaw and fingers waggling from this secret and hidden location. The location of the wave is everything and besides being almost clandestine, it has the added bonus of hiding double chins.

It has become our family secret wave.

I come from a family that waves off its visitors, walking any guest to the car or letter box then watching them drive away, hands raised above the head until the car is out of sight.

My children do the same, probably without realising that this is a dying artform. And now I notice my grandchildren standing beside them. But instead of a raised arm, they wave with their left hand under the chin, fingers waggling.

A family legacy has moved to a new generation.

- Linda Muller