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.
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.