Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Silence, And What I Heard

My week-long cold took its toll on my
voice, and when I woke up Friday morning I didn’t have one.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.


I was apprehensive about how I’d get through the day with the
girls and no voice: what’s a mommy without her ability to
coach, encourage, cajole, direct? But I have to admit, I was quite
surprised at the results.

My biggest worry of the morning was
getting Maddie ready for school; getting her out of bed is a long
process involving lots of cuddles and many gentle comments such as,
“Are you awake, hon? Time to wake up. Time to get up. Are you
moving? I know you’re tired, but it’s time to get
up.” I keep a running stream of chatter as Maddie slowly
surfaces from dreamland, then gets out of bed and gets dressed.
Comforting rather than bossy, but moving inexorably forward –
that’s my role for the morning wake-up. Or at least, it is
when I can talk.

But for whatever reason, the morning went quite well. Maddie woke
herself up – a rarity that happens perhaps once a month
– and had already started dressing by the time I got
upstairs. I said a silent (hah!) prayer of thanks for that and
moved towards breakfast, whispering and gesturing the whole way.
Maddie immediately got into it, whispering back to me, using two
words instead of ten, and our morning took on an austere quality
– quiet, unrushed, with lots of comfortable space between us.

The quiet comfort continued on the walk to school. Whereas usually
I’d be playfully chatty- “What are you looking forward
to about today? Are you excited about art?” – today
there was silence. And Maddie and I walked along companionably for
a while, until she began talking on her own. About important
things, and nothing at all.

Cora equated my quiet as a severe illness, and spent the whole day
whispering to me. Often, she’d come close, take my face in
both her hands, and whisper tenderly back. “Cora, what do you
want for lunch?” I’d whisper. Cora would gaze into my
eyes and whisper intimately, “Peanut butter and jelly.”

When I picked Maddie up from school, the walk home was again much
more quiet. Usually I’d spend this time trying to subtly find
out about Maddie’s day: “How was school? What did you
do in gym? Did you read a new book during daily reading
time?” and Maddie and I would stumble along. This time, with
the silence stretched in front of her, Maddie picked every topic
and was able to lead with what was important to her. Haltingly at
first, Maddie’s speech began to move faster and faster, topic
tumbling into new subject as the stress of school lifted off her
and my girl unwound.

I don’t consider myself a person who talks too much –
but then, I guess no one would put herself in that category. But I
did notice that, as my voice retreated, I began to hear other
things. Maddie’s contentment in her silent walk to school;
Cora’s happy humming while she painted yet another picture;
Maddie wrestling with herself as she tried to obey my request to
clean up her area when all she really wanted to do was read –
these threads became louder and took on space of their own.

I never realized how much my voice is the one that moved the whole
house along until it was gone. And I saw in the silence how perhaps
I haven’t given the girls enough space to work things out for
themselves, to give themselves a chance to make their own decision
– right or wrong – before I prodded them into it. I
don’t know if that makes sense to you , but it does to me.

My voice is gradually coming back, and I find myself able to hum
along with some songs on the radio now – though half the
notes are still silent and the girls laugh gleefully as they hear
me squeak. But I’ll try to continue a deliberate austerity
with my words moving forward and see where it gets us a family.

There’s an old proverb that says, “Do not speak unless
you can improve on the silence.” Perhaps my words
haven’t been as necessary as I’ve thought they


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.