Thursday, November 10, 2011


There were days this past summer of the not very good variety. Of a not very patient me.  Of not very willing to listen children.

On the worst of these days, I resorted to shutting my voice OFF.  For hours I'd last - not speaking a word.

It drove the kids insane:

"Talk Mom!  You have to talk!!"

*signing* " NO. You not listen.  I not talk."

Once the kids realized that my limit had been exceeded and I was NOT going to turn my voice back on, they'd form a united front - against me.  Which was a lovely thing.

"Come on Bea. Mom not talking. We can go to my room and play."

They'd tiptoe around the house, careful not to provoke the silent beast.

Moods would improve, patience would be restored and voices would choose to be heard once more.

I love having that choice. To use my voice or my hands.

Chatting with the kids last week, about Owen, and his school, and his Sign Language, Bea asked me;

"Mom? When Owen is all growed up? Is he still going to be Deaf?"

*gulp* "Yes Sweetie.  He will.  Why are you asking that?"

"I don't want him to be."

"What Bea say?"

*signing* "She want know; Will you still Deaf when you grown up."

"What you tell her?"

*signing* "Yes"

He came over to me, curled up in a ball on my lap.  I almost missed his small sign;

"Don't want."

He didn't miss the tears on my cheeks.  He hugged and kissed and comforted me.

I've been fighting a cold, Bea told me my voice was 'Wrong' on Monday.

Tuesday, when I awoke and tried to speak, I became immediately aware of a knot of twitching crickets that had taken up residence around my vocal chords.  The weakest attempt at using my voice angered the crickets.

So I went downstairs and greeted the kids in sign.

Owen; "You mad Mommy?"

"No. Sick. Throat hurt. Voice gone."

Rubbing my back; "It's ok. You feel better tomorrow."

And the kids behaved beautifully for me and my sick voice. They played quietly. They didn't fight. They obeyed my hands.

And yesterday morning, the crickets were gone.

"You talk today Mommy?"


And he squeezed me and patted my back, and gave me a double thumbs up, as if in congratulation.

And I thought, if I had the choice?

I'd give up my voice for his ears any day.


  1. Now you have me in tears. Hugs xox

  2. I've had a similar question. Joey wants to know if when he turns five, six, etc. . .Will he be able to walk without his brace. It breaks my heart to tell him he'll always wear it.

  3. Beautiful post.

    Where have you been? I've missed you so.

  4. Gulp. I wish it were that simple, though there would be a lot of voiceless (eyeless, limbless, liverless) moms in the world.

    Missed ya.

  5. If only we had the choice to turn them off and on like that. How beautiful is it that they WANT to hear your voice, though?

  6. Gah. I can really be an oblivious twat sometimes.

    I think, somehow, I never really absorbed the heavy heart that comes with raising a deaf child. Your humor is a great mask, to be sure, but still, I should have *gotten it* better.

    I love you lady.

  7. I just taught one of my students the 'don't want' sign yesterday.

    I really need to squish those kids soon - it's been way too long. I hope Al gets his head around coming along to the Balderdash festival.


  8. This is truly beautiful, Tulpen.

  9. Both Bea and Owen know you'd give up anything for them.

    You don't have to say or sign those words.

    They just live in your mouth, in your fingers.

    Because you're a mama. An amazing mama.

    Double thumbs-up.

    (And a big lump in my throat. Damn.)

  10. Oh, Tulpen.

    Oh. Tulpen.

    Hot burning tears in my eyes right now.


    Oh my god, this is GOLDEN.

    So beyond what the words mean. It's what is between these words.

  11. Typing through tears, there is no comment of mine that can do this post justice. Beautiful.

  12. This is absolutely stunning writing -- you evoked so much feeling in us all. Just beautiful.

  13. Oh Tulp. Hot tears. You bitch.

    But Bea and Owen, I love. LOVE, dammit. Could they be more sweet and wonderful.

    I guess that's your fault too.

    Now, do you mind just putting a little flag at the top of your posts like this, one that says "TISSUES REQUIRED!"

    I love the work of your hands but STOP MAKING ME CRY.

  14. Oh, come on. I started out all congested and glossy-eyed, because I'm feeling sickish, and now my sinuses are aching. Owen and Bea... and your writing. Too beautiful, but ouch and drat. Now I need tissues...

  15. I have no words other than: beautiful. Truly.

  16. God I miss you when you're gone for long periods of time.
    You put things in perspective.

  17. Yes, beautiful post but - OUCH - that shit's fucked up. I can't leave a comment here without profanity . . . don't want.

  18. Really a beautiful post. Our children can be so wonderful...

  19. Kids and their sucker-punches. It never fails.

    (Gorgeous writing).

  20. Please don't hate me for this comparison, but my son is color blind and I truly wish I could trade eyes with him.
    Also, you made me cry. So we're even.


Use Your Words.