By Pamela Brownstein
The unmistakable sounds of parenthood — from the first wail of a newborn to the sweet giggles of a ticklish toddler to the dramatic pleas of a teenager — are etched forever in a mother’s brain, creating a symphony of memories.
As I adjust to life out of the workplace and in my new role as a Stay-at-Home Mom, I try to remember things my own amazing mother said to me about being a good parent. But I realize with dismay that all the important words of advice that she imparted, I usually ignored — purposely tuning out or rolling my eyes on the phone while thinking “whatever, Mom, stop lecturing me.”
It’s been almost five years since I heard my mother’s voice, and I miss the sound of her infectious laugh with a longing that’s impossible to describe. I miss being able to call her and hear her comforting words or tell a funny story or commiserate about trying to lose weight. I wish I could hear her one more time and thank her for always being there for me and talking to me and helping me through all the tough times in my life, even when I didn’t listen or appreciate it.
The irony is that now I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get the tiny people I live with to listen to me. With a 3-year-old son and a 20-month-old daughter, my days are often spent immersed in toddler talk, whining and screeching are all too familiar sounds and so many mornings I fantasize about drinking my coffee and listening to NPR uninterrupted.
Instead, I repeat demands such as “put your shoes on” or “keep your hands to yourself” so much that I sound like a nag even to myself. (Sometimes I laugh at the absurdity of the things that come out of my mouth: “Don’t put Desitin on your sister’s head!” “Why is there a potato masher in the bathroom?”) Recently, after an exhausting day filled with innumerable reminders to “turn your ears on,” I went off the deep end when the dog wouldn’t even heed my simple request to “Get in your crate.”
“The most frustrating thing about being home is NOBODY LISTENS TO ME!!!” I told my husband, who just got home from work and, bless him, listens to my rants with as much interest as a guy can muster.
I’m sure there will be many Mother’s Days when I will reminisce about how sweet my kids were when they were little, remembering fondly their little voices and funny phrases. But not this year. This year, I can’t wait until the kids go to sleep, when I can close my eyes and enjoy the brief sounds of silence.
Then I look forward to the glorious “pop” that a cork makes as it frees itself from a bottle of champagne, and I will silently raise my glass and toast my mom.
Actually, to all the moms out there who are thankful to make it through another day, I hear y’all.