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