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I’m making Thursdays Throwback Thursdays here. Meaning you’re going to get either a chapter from one of my 30 day challenge books (I have 2. No, they’re not published. I’m working on that.) or an older post I thought would be good to revisit.
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This is from my 30 day gratitude challenge from 2016. The kids are a little older now but the feelings stand true. Enjoy.
What Sound Am I Grateful For?
Much like smells, a variety of sounds fill a mother’s days and ears. Most of which comes as whining or the ever cringe inducing, “Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama.” My toddler son currently holds the world record for most mamas said in a twenty-four-hour period: eighty-six thousand four hundred.
Part of our job as mothers is grocery shopping. You can’t leave them at home or in the car. We have to take our children with us. My daughter had the incredible talent of making me look incompetent as a daycare teacher whenever we were in public. My sweet, quiet, obedient little baby Bunny turned into that kid at Walmart. You know the one. The kid you can hear four aisles over. The one laying on the floor, screaming with the voice of a thousand demon spawns. Without fail, one parent of a kid in my class would pop up like a dandelion in a Spring snow.
“Oh, hi, Miss Jen. How are you? We thought we heard Bunny. What kind of fit is this? Custom or off the rack? That sounds like tongues. I have some holy water, salt, and sage in my purse. Would you like some? Well, here’s the number to my preacher if you need her exorcised. See you tomorrow.”
In these cases, there would also be the one helpful individual who would offer to call the Department of Child Services for you (on you). In that situation, I would also be helpful and hand Nora Newsie or Betty Busybody a card with the number and name of the child abuse hotline case worker that I dealt with from work.
“Just tell her Jen sent you. She’ll help guide you out.”
The sound I loved hearing then was the shocked gasp escaping painted on lips. How dare I be so cheeky? Indeed. The nerve of me.
There’s an odd phenomenon that occurs when you become a mother. The mother’s ears can hear certain sounds. No one else hears them. Just Mom.
“Did you clean you room?” Wait ten seconds. “I heard that.”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“You don’t have to. I heard you think it. Remember, your head was in me and now I’m in your head forever.”
There is something so satisfying about the look on a teenager’s face when you can repeat verbatim what they mumbled, grumbled, or whispered in their room with their door closed and head buried in a pillow. I love hearing, “How did she hear that?”
Hearing the snotty comments in my teenager’s head is not the only benefit of Super Mommy Hearing. With this power also comes the ability to hear when someone, anyone coughs, sneezes, or pukes in the middle of the night. There is a direct correlation between Super Mommy Hearing and the ability of a father to sleep through his own snoring, the kids’ stomach flu, a seven point earthquake, the zombie apocalypse, a close encounter of the fourth kind (complete with anal probing), and the second coming of Jesus.
Mothers can hear when a toddler is about to cover his Spiderman sheets in used chicken nuggets, French fries, and chocolate milk. It was this incident that led us to the discovery that the T-Rex is allergic to chocolate. For that knowledge, I am grateful.
This super human hearing is also responsible for catching teenagers up way past their bedtimes, raiding the fridge, and watching movies they know they aren’t supposed to be watching. You will see no one so fast as a mother hearing a toddler about to throw up. Olympic sprinters should train against a mother. You try being in a dead sleep and waking up to sounds used in an “Exorcist” remake. And not only are we awake, but we are up and out of bed, swooping in like golden eagles rescuing Dwarves and hobbits. You scoop the toddler out of bed and place him over the toilet or bucket (whichever is closer). After all puking has ceased and your sweet little dumpling is snoozing, you clean up any remaining evidence of illness and disinfect the house.
And your husband snores on.
Despite all that, there is one sound that makes it all worth it. It’s a sound that changes as the children get older. And even though it’s not said in actual words, the meaning is the same, “I love you.”
I remember the first time I heard my oldest daughter say it. It was as her heartbeat. As soon as I heard that rhythm I knew that was her way of saying, “I love you.” To the untrained ear it was whoosh whoosh whoosh, but I heard it, small and mousy, “I love you.” whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh. “I love you, Mama.”
As they grow, kids say it in different ways. “Mama, I need your help.” “Mama, can you read this story to me?” “Mama, I drew you a picture. You’re the big red one right there.” And one of my all-time favorites is when my kids hand me a fistful of dandelions. “I picked them for you because they are pretty like you. Look, this one has a fluffy, white head just like you, Mama. I think that’s the best one.” Thanks, kid. Where’s the hair dye?
As they move on into their teens, hearing, “I love you,” diminishes, but it still gets said. “Hey, Mom, can you make tortellini soup? I’m not feeling so good.” “I saw you weren’t feeling well, so I made you some tea.” And the rare but always appreciated, “Hey, Mom, I did the dishes and the laundry for you. Do you need me to do anything else?”
As the adult child with a mother and father both still alive, I attempt to say, “I love you,” to them daily. I am aware of the limited time I have left to say it to them and hear it said back. I know during my teen years I didn’t say it enough. I’m doing everything I can to make up for the folly of my youth.
My husband has already lost his dad. We’ve had many conversations about how he wishes he could go back and replace every, “I hate you,” and, “F!@# you!” with, “I love you.” I can’t even imagine that kind of regret. I hear him say it in his sleep. I hope Big Rex is answering, “I love you, too.”
I would have to say the sound I am grateful for the most is the sound of I love you. Whether it’s from my kids, my husband, my parents, or my friends, there is something about hearing those three little words.
So many people are afraid of those words. Some are afraid to say them; others are afraid to hear them.
“So, we were chilling last night, and he said, ‘I love you.’”
“It’s getting that serious?”
“Yeah, I guess I have to break up with him now. You know I can’t be having a case of the feels right now.”
For three tiny words, they carry significant weight. Those three little words can change someone’s entire course in life. They could cause someone to move halfway across the country. I promise it took a lot more than just that to get me to move from Philly to Missouri. It definitely did help, though.
I can’t even tell you how much it means to me to hear my kids say it. There is something about hearing my toddler mumble, “Wub oo, mama,” right before he falls into his dinosaur and Spiderman laden dreams. When he’s awake and says, “I love you,” it’s always accompanied with the cheesiest, toothiest grin possible while laying his head on my arm and looking up at me with his big, bright, brown eyes.
It’s even more of a miracle when the Bunny says it. There’s a book that every teenager gets on their thirteenth birthday. The teenage rule book lays out all the dreadful, terrible, obnoxious behaviors that people expect from the child. Eye-rolling and what to do and say when you get caught rolling your eyes behind your mom’s back is chapter one. Chapter two is about how to negotiate curfew and still come home an hour late. Chapter three brings us to being cool in public. Here it states, “Thou shalt never show any affection for thine parents. Ever. Not in public. Not in private. And don’t even think about saying, ‘I love you.’ You will lose your teen privileges and immediately returned to eleven years old. We will confiscate your tube of Clearasil, copy of Teen Cosmo, and hormone card.” With all that going on in their heads, it takes a rebel without a clue to buck the system and say, “Love you, Mom,” once a day. Good thing the Bunny never was one for fitting in or following the rules.
My favorite sound I am grateful for is the sound of I love you on the lips of my children. Whether they’re saying it to me, my parents, my husband, or the ever elusive to each other, it makes me feel like all the bad and ugly, scary and angry in the world doesn’t exist. In my world at that moment everything is alright. Everything is OK because we have love. And there were once four philosophers that sang the praises of love. Love is all you need.
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Thank you for sharing!
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