Music to my Ears

It’s time again for a Sluiter Nation Recruit to be inducted into the Nation.  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Well, read here.

I don’t even know how to find the words to describe this week’s recruit, Sherri of Old Tweener.

She is one of those bloggers who I found through a blog and through a blog and connected on twitter and…well…she is probably one of my favorite treasures that the internet has given me.

Sherri and I seem to be counterparts in this thing called motherhood.  Both of our first borns are sons.  Hers just graduated from high school and mine is about to turn two.  Daily Sherri reminds me of what I should treasure and what I have to look forward to.  She gives me perspective on being a mom of a boy.  And she is a role-model to me.

And she tells me that I remind her of what the toddler age was like.  What she can still see in her son if she looks hard enough.

She is my future (I hope!) and I am her past.

And at the same time?  We have become wonderful friends.

I am so honored that she is here today.  Grab a box of tissues, though.  This one is that lovely.

*************

Sometimes I think what I miss the most is the voice.

That little-boy voice, following me wherever I went; talking to me constantly, asking questions with no apparent answers.

Or at least none that I can come up with quickly.

Even through the bathroom door.

I first heard his voice as a sort of purring sound, when he was placed on my chest right after birth.

I thought it was the best sound I’d ever heard.

As he grew, we encouraged language and reading in our house, and he soaked it up.

We talked constantly in the car while driving around. I would tell him where we were going, what we would get while we were out, and when we would head home.

I pointed out landmarks and familiar places, neighbor’s homes and favorite playgrounds.

We sang the crazy kid songs; told silly stories, and read books so many times I could probably repeat them to this day.

Goodnight stars, goodnight air…

We named animals, imitated their sounds, pretended to be pirates, recited Dr. Seuss and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Over and over.

We encouraged him to talk and boy, did he.

He didn’t stop for 16 years.

And now, in all of his teenagerishness, the talking isn’t as frequent.

The voice is deep; traces of man are evident in the words that come out.

Responses sometimes seem harsh, even when they aren’t meant to be.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear the little boy in there, but just barely.

I haven’t been called Mommy in more years than I care to remember.

Just Mom.

I think back to how many times he would rattle on and on about something only he found interesting; like which time periods certain dinosaurs lived in or whether or not polystyrene was recyclable.

And I know I didn’t always listen. I nodded my head, tried to stay focused and enthusiastic.

But that didn’t always work.

Like the time we drove all the way to Grandma’s house one hour away and he spent the whole time telling a story.

One story. One hour.

Pretty sure I drifted a bit during that one.

The conversations we have now are different. What time will you be home? Who are you going with? Is there enough gas in the car?

The answers are never long enough for my mind to wander.

I find myself wishing for a long story, a difficult question, a little-known fact, or something else that takes more time than a simple answer.

Wanting to hear Mommy, maybe just once more.

In that small, little-boy voice from so long ago.

*************

See?  Sherri is the BEST!

If you are not following her on twitter, you must!  She is funny and lovely and a great conversationalist!

And you MUST read her blog, Old Tweener!  Here is just a sampling of some of her loveliness.  But head this caveat:  There will be swooning.

All that Remains of the Toothfairy (honestly? the tooth fairy part of my new job description scares me)

Exit Interview (oh how this one gets me)

Driven to Insanity (ZOMG!  Driver’s Training???)

Photo Finish (grab a tissue before reading this.  And then don’t say I didn’t warn you)

**************

If you have a second?  Both Sherri and I (and many others) have posts nominated for BlogHer Voice of the year.  Please take a minute to go through the list and vote for your favorites.  The winner gets to read his/her post at the Keynote Community speaker.  HUGE honor.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Oh Katie, I am so happy to be hanging out with you today! I love, LOVE that I’ve met you and can’t wait to hug you in person in August!!

    Thank you so very much, and I’m an honored recruit in the Sluiter Nation.

  2. This had me in near tears. Near, because I can’t cry and comment at the same time. Sherri, thank you for writing this. I think we moms of toddlers sometimes take for granted all those little boy moments (voices, stories etc) when we’re knee deep in it. And they grow oh-so-fast. Thank you for reminding us that we need to listen, to grasp every single moment and store it in our hearts.

    • Those toddler days are long….some longer than others! But they do go fast…and those moments are memories you’ll love later on.

  3. Aww, what a sweet post. My oldest is only 7 and she stopped calling me mommy awhile ago and instead calls me Mother. Breaks my heart every time. But at least I have my youngest to call me mommy for the next couple years.

  4. Ack! I’m all teary!

    And now I’m going to go hug my boy and sniff his hair and behind his ears and listen to his voice so I don’t forget him.

  5. What a sweet post! My boy is 5. He hasn’t called me Mommy in quite some time, but he still has the little boy voice. He also smells like syrup. I wish I could hold onto those little things forever.

  6. Well, now I’m crying into my coffee. I know he won’t call me Mama forever… but I don’t want to answer to Mom. Weep.

    He never stops talking, either, unless he’s listening, with those terrifyingly clever ears.

    But if there’s something I’ve learned watching my 28 year old brother with my Mom, it’s that they start talking again after the teenagery quiet.

    And if you’re very lucky, there will be another little voice to call you Gramma someday.

  7. What a treat to find Sherri over here today,
    two brilliant writers under one bloggy roof.
    How lucky are we?
    (hope to get to hug them BOTH in August!)

  8. Of course I’m all teary now. Sherri has this way with words that is simply amazing. She also has a knack for writing pieces that say exactly what I’m feeling.
    changed over the past few months & he’s closer to manhood than boyhood. When did that happen? I would love to be able to hear his sweet baby voice just one more time.

  9. Oh, you can practically touch the nostalgia in this post! So lovely. My daughter has just started to talk and I can’t get enough of it, even though I don’t understand most of what she says. I just nod along and utter the occasional, “Uh-huh,” or “REALLY!?” and keep encouraging her. Because that tinny little baby voice is, to me, the sweetest sound right now.

  10. I love when you reminisce, Sherri. You take me back in time with you.
    And if you are lucky? You will hear your son’s voice and see that little boy again! In the form of a grandson! That is the best thing ever!
    hugs, Shanon

    • Shanon, I love when you visit me…because I know you understand and are just that one step ahead of me! Hugs to you…

  11. oh my goodness, I’ve read so much of you today Sherri that my heart is just melting with all the love and reminders you are giving me.

    I know that the next time (probably later tonight) when I hear “mommy” for the 50th time and I’m at the end of my rope with hearing my own name I will think of this and hold Gio and Jacob a little tighter ….so thank you, from all three of us.

    • Mommy….Mommy….Mommy…..yes, I remember those days so well! But DO hug them a bit tighter, and enjoy them. And thank you for multiple visits today! So wonderful!

  12. That is my worst fear…them growing up and not needing us as much. Sigh.

    • I am SO proud of him! But yes, no needed as much. So it’s great, but odd…if that makes sense. Yours is adorable, btw!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Just lovely! I have a terrible memory and worry that I will forget their little voices. I have a stepson and stepdaughter from a previous marriage and they are now 17 & 18. I treasure them and the memories and wonder how they got to be so grown up. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that I need to treasure the ongoing ramblings of my son, who is now seven. My favorite thing is to listen to them run about, squealing in delight as they play.

  14. This sounds like my house…I can recite Goodnight Moon in my sleep. I LOVE hearing Mommy! I waited for that day with bated breath. thanks for the small glimpse into my future. kinda makes me sad that he won’t always be that baby. at least he won’t think so…

  15. You are KILLING me with this “no more mommy” business!

    I refuse to think about those days coming to an end!

  16. I think I’ll miss Alex’s little hands the most.

    Although the tiny little “mom! mom! mom!”s that come out of him are definitely something I’ll miss in the future…

  17. Laughing and crying at the same time. Oh the part about the hour long story. We are so there!! This was a beautiful post. Heading over to your blog now.

  18. I felt like I was looking into the future while I read your post. I try–REALLY HARD to tell myself to listen because my kids won’t always want to talk my ears off like they do now. Sigh. Lovely post. Thank you!

    • It is so hard to always listen! But I’m glad I did…even though I know I did drift here and there.

      And now when I drift? He’s yammering on and on about some science thing or video game…sigh.

  19. Oh, Sherri. Yes. I let my mind drift far too often.

    Because what he finds interesting? Not so much riveting for me. The video game strategies; the intricacies of his latest air soft gun; his plans to customize a skateboard.

    His voice is already deepening. And I’m already Mom. I don’t remember the last time he called me Mommy.

    I surely didn’t realize it would be the last time.

    And the last time he held my hand – it must have happened while we were heading into the grocery store or the bank. I would have held on more tightly if I’d known.

    Thank you for reminding me that everything he does, anything at all, might be for the last time.

    And then he will be all grown up.

    My little boy.

    I’m going to go listen to him. Right now.

    • I totally agree….was never that interested in garbage men, Legos, Mario Brothers…

      But I certainly tried to be.

      And then? They grow up.

      Sigh.

  20. Sawyer stopped calling me Mommy this past month. At 7 1/2. Isn’t that too young? It’s too young.

    All my kids talk non-stop and as much as I long for silence, I know I will long for the noise soon enough.

    Love you, Sherri!

    xo

  21. lelisa13p says:

    Wow. I did exactly the same things with my Limited Edition, now 25 (!) and the payoff has been enormous for both of us. The bond that grows from that sort of one-on-one give and take is the strongest thing on Earth. I thank my lucky stars every day and realize how blessed I am. I do wish that there had been more opportunities to record that sweet little-boy voice. I’d listen to it so often now.

    Young Moms, take notice! Record them while you can. Leave the recorder on while they play. When you’re older (like me -har!) you’ll be so grateful!

    Such a fine post! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Who doesn’t love Sherri? I love it when she writes these posts of her little-boy-past. And that little boy voice IS so adorable, isn’t it? Even when it just told me that chandelier was swinging because of him.

  23. You’re trying to get me to jump off that cliff this week, aren’t you, S?

    You’re doing a pretty good job.

    xo

    FANTASTIC READ

    Also: I voted for you both.

    • Sorry to make you want to jump off the cliff…I swear, it’s time for me to bring some funny back now.

      And thank you for the vote…and I voted for you, along with almost everyone else in the contiguous United States! Way to go!

  24. This is so beautiful. I have trouble with the fact that my baby is crawling now, let alone driving. And after my years of teaching high school, I know in my heart that I’ll love that age too, but it’s just so hard to imagine.

    • Oh, the crawling just seems to be the beginning of letting them go…and since you’ve worked with high schoolers? You already know that.

  25. Just beautiful Sherri. I swear I will be patient with the little girl voice and any little boy voices I might be blessed with in the future.

  26. isn’t sherri just fabulous!! love her!

  27. Oh Sherri-

    I had tears in my eyes as I read this. My own little boy is 16 and it felt as though you were describing my boy and my life. I didn’t hear purring when they placed him on my chest – it sounded more like those little chirps the baby dinosaurs made in Jurassic Park. But everything else was right …. the stories about dinosaurs, or birds of prey, or sharks, or The Crocodile Hunter…the little boy voice…

    Beautiful, beautiful post. Even though it made me cry!

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