Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is Anybody Listening?

I lost my voice again. It must be God's Christmas gift to my family because I seem to lose it every year in early December. No sore throat. No fever. No warning. It's here one minute and gone the next...a lot like a box of Froot Loops in my pantry.

My family doesn't even try to hide their glee from me. And I would be okay with how funny they think it is for mom to be verbally impaired. I would, frankly, be fine with not talking at all for three or four days. Even I get sick of hearing myself and could use a break. I would be okay with it...except that they can't stop asking me questions. "Why can't you just leave the mute mommy alone?" I want to whisper. But there's that omnipresent oxymoron--mommy and alone.

Last night Oldest Boy wanted to know where I had hidden his favorite sweatshirt (because that's what I do in my free time). "MO-OHM!" he hollered from downstairs. "WHERE'S MY HOODIE?" Normally I would have hollered back, "I DO NOT HIDE YOUR SWEATSHIRTS. IT'S WHEREVER YOU LEFT IT." Only I couldn't. And I certainly wasn't going to walk down the stairs to explain laryngitis symptoms to the kid. Instead I sat upstairs and counted how many times he'd yell for me before he finally gave up and either wore a different hoodie or used those healthy young legs to come and find me. It was five times. I didn't see him until this morning when he left for school wearing the allegedly stolen sweatshirt.

Middle Girl was working in the kitchen while I Facebooked at the table. The phone rang. And rang. And rang. I wondered how long before she'd remember that mom is verbally stricken and cannot reasonably answer the phone. It rang. And rang. Finally she picked it up, said "Yes ma'am, just a minute" to whomever had called, and then handed me the phone. "I can't talk," I literally gasped. "Remember?! Sheesh. Take a message." I'm fairly certain an eye roll accompanied the statement, "So sorry. My mom says she can't talk." I wanted to growl at her but it hurts my throat.

Little Girl bounced onto my bed and proclaimed I needed to help her study for her economics test. Economics in third grade? Explaining opportunity costs to an 8-year-old would not be easy even if I had full use of all my octaves. Preaching it in a low whisper just led to several rounds of "What?" "Huh?" and "I don't understand." "Isn't your father around here somewhere?" I croaked. "I'm sure he can clearly explain this." "Oh yeah," she chirped. "He's in there reading the newspaper." Yes, growling at my children definitely hurts my throat.

Little Boy was on the computer this morning earnestly interacting with some virtual animal in some virtual world. I was trying to get his attention from the kitchen to find out what he wanted for breakfast. Clearing my throat, snapping my fingers and jumping up and down waving my arms did not work to distract him. I finally leaned down, tapped his shoulder and whispered, "Here are your waffles." He answered without looking up from the screen, "But, Mom, I wanted Froot Loops."

"Too bad for you. They're all gone," I muttered as I turned around. Judging from the groan of protest, that was one mom whisper he heard just fine. And it turns out giggling at my children doesn't hurt my throat at all.

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