Tuesday, January 14, 2014

you are more than your voice



He breaks my heart in a place that is already broken.


Not that he knows.


Or has any idea how he heals it all in the same moment too.






For any other parent, any other child; it’s a bedtime stall tactic.


Except, he has no way of knowing that his words destroy the defenses around my walled-in hope after 35 years.




Mommy!  Sing me a lullaby!  No wait, sing me three.

The Edelweiss one.

and the Irish one.

and the family one.



And just like that, the wall is breached.


Hurt and hope squeeze out in equal measure, until logic reminds me that I have a reason and a right to be self-conscious.

Dread sits squarely atop my lungs, daring me to defer to sanity.


No one wants to hear a deaf person sing.


Except.  He’s my boy.


And my performance anxiety will be long-forgotten someday, swallowed up in his childhood.

Edelweiss hums hesitantly… memories of a decade of ballet company warm-ups with a sweet elderly German pianist.

He closes his eyes, but cannot resist a grin when he hears the first words of my off-key personalized version of his next request…


He’s my dear my darling one

My smiling and beguiling one.

I love the ground he walks upon.

My handsome Irish boy.


I sing it twice through to his uncomplaining sleepy face.

I steel myself.

My voice doesn’t bother him like it bothers others.  It’s just “Mom’s voice”.


But still, the dread.


I stare at my insecurities head-on as I recall his last request.

The one sung by three generations to their babies.  The family song.

One that is a true lullaby – meant to be sweetly sung.

Knowing that each generation before me sang with lovely, stage-worthy voices, family harmonies, and clear sweetness.  And knowing that I am utterly unqualified, except…

that the words are pure love.  Crooned into my own ears as a colicky baby.  Crooned into my mother’s ears as an infant.  Into every aunt, uncle, cousin and grandchild’s hearing; each time made to fit them.


He’s my little baby boy

baby, baby, baby boy

He’s my little baby sweetheart boy.



And the locked up places where I longed to be able to sing to my boy - are suddenly lit with the dim glow of the cowboy nightlight next to my son’s bed.


He’s done me no small miracle.


And I’ve sung him to sleep.


Beth Zimmerman said...

Aw Rachel ... I always thought I had a perfectly acceptable voice. Not great but I make do. Then the video game Rock Band came out and they handed me the microphone and I promptly humiliated myself! Turns out that I am more .... oh ... quiet crooner than I will ever be buxom belter of rock tunes! Ever since I have become self-conscious, especially in church, afraid that my voice will crack or squeak or screech or some other horror. And God taps on my heart and reminds me that He requested a joyful NOISE ... not a Broadway song! He made our voices and He considers them beautiful when we use them for His glory ... whether that is praising Him or singing lullabies to our baby boys! And I think He has given those boys special ears! Ears that hear beyond the sound ... to the love that carries it!

Love you, Rachel!

angel shrout said...

Aww sweetie I do the same and I look at my son who is a singer now and say wow he sounds better than I ever did. As moms we always sell ourselves short, deaf or not. To him your voice is one of love, acceptance, security. Revel in the joy of that...

Life with Kaishon said...

What a lovely gift you give each other. You are truly blessed.

robin said...

I just love that boy. :) :)

Tiffany Bleger said...

Oh sweet friend. He won't remember the sound like you do. He'll remember his sweet mama taking the time to sing his favorite songs in the dark. He'll remember he smell of the sheets and the feel of your hand on his. He'll remember the sweet melody sung by a beautiful woman who loves him with all her heart. And that's what's important.

Danielle said...

That's the sweetest thing ever. I'm glad you sing it anyway. I can't imagine how difficult that is to feel the way you do. But like others have said, you're amazing to him, and he'll remember how he felt more than how you sounded. And even how you sound could be his greatest comfort!

Pam D said...

Ahhh, Rach. I am quite sure that God tuned your itty bitty boy's ears to the sound of YOUR voice before he ever exited the womb. The music that you make is the sweetest that HE will ever hear. God is pretty cool that way..

Buckeroomama said...

A mommy's voice... none sweeter.

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