Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Voice

Honey and...
I realized yesterday that when my children call me I use a special voice when I talk to them on the phone. 

Only a few, short minutes after I finished talking to Seth, sounding like a cross between nails on a chalk board and an old-fashioned typewriter cross-bred with a machine gun, Charlie called.

All of a sudden, honey and sunshine combined in my throat and cascaded out of my mouth in the form of puppies, fluffy little lambs and ripe summer strawberries.  Even I heard the difference.  Afterwards, Seth came sauntering out and looked at me balefully.  “I know,” I said.  “Good,” he answered, “because you are a weirdo.”
I am not a weirdo. I am a mama who misses her boys.  And when one of your children calls, a mother puts away the machine gun and pulls out the honey. I must have talked to Seth like that once upon a time. Maybe when he was a merchant marine, calling from a distant port, his voice preceded by the staticky tone of the marine operator—“You have a call from—insert name of oil tanker here.” Then he may have gotten that voice.  Maybe.
But we mamas know. The kids are the kids. They get the juiciest drum stick or the cookie with the most chocolate chips, the brightest smile and the voice. Seth is, actually, the kind of papa who totally gets it.

He may not have a special voice but he has other things reserved just for the boys. The invitation to take a ride and return home with bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches (the kind from town with the hash browns inside) or to go for a walk around the block to talk politics...or, the secret attack--a pounce from a hiding place that unleashes wrestling and pummeling that only fathers and sons can share.
We all use many voices, no?

There’s the one when talking to the bank teller (trying to sound stable so your transaction goes smoothly), the guy at the deli counter (still trying to sound stable so your transaction goes smoothly), the one for ordering in a restaurant or talking to the receptionist at the vet’s office. There’s the “chatting with a friend” voice which can vary depending on the level of intimacy and  the voice, if you're lucky, that you use when talking to your mother.

This, often, is your true voice because you can just be you. I would alternately whine, bark, yodel, whimper and screech in any one conversation with my mother. She understood each inflection and transition and would adjust her own voice to best handle it.
Which brings me right back to how I talk to the boys.....


  1. I think as I've gotten older I'm down to just one voice. Make that two if you count the one in my head.

  2. Thanks for reading, Bodacious! Managing our voices can be very challenging.....

  3. my friend Maria told me about your blog! love it!

  4. Thanks, losing bee...yours looks lovely. I'm heading there after I chloroform my husband for the night.