I can see her stirring in bed. Her arms outstretched, swaying in the air. The blanket slips halfway to the floor as she struggles to writhe free. She yawns. And yawns again, emitting a sound reminiscent of a moose calf in distress.
A sliver of sun sneaks beneath the window blind, and her blue eyes snap open like flowers in the morning light. She’s headed in my direction now and her mouth, closed for almost nine hours, rushes to catch up …
“Mom! Hey, Mom! Are you awake?”
“Mom, wake up!”
“Here. Let me lift your eyelids and help you wake up.”
“Oh! Hi, Mom! I see you!”
“Mom, can I turn the TV on?”
“Can I watch SpongeBob? No, Curious George.”
“I’m hungry. Can you get me a drink?”
“There’s an ant on the floor! Save me!”
“Mom, I have a question. This smoothie is good.”
“Can we go outside today?”
“Bacon comes from Walmart, Mom. Not pigs.”
“I’m a dog. Ruff, ruff! You can pet my head.”
All this before I’ve had my first sip of coffee.
Fifteen mind-boggling, scratch-in-a-vinyl-record hours later …
She’s still going.
Doctors refer to her as ‘spirited’. If by spirited they mean “an object in motion …” or, in this case, “a mouth in motion … ” they hit the nail on the head. My daughter is a motormouth. A beautiful, open-ended, often one-sided conversationalist. Her mouth never stops running. And, I swear, I’m losing my mind.
Just as I form a thought …
“Mom, I’m a cat now! Meowwwww!”
“Are you old, Mom?”
“What are those things on your face? Crinkles?”
For the love … ?
She’s spirited, alright. Where’s the off switch?
Yes, I’m that mom. The one who sometimes prays, begs, and pleads for silence. I just wonder what it would be like if she were a quiet child. Could I think again? Catch a breath? Would the serenity of a soundless environment alleviate the constant buzz that’s not a mosquito burrowed in my ear?
And then she dances and sings a song off-tune, and all those selfish wishes go away. I think about the depth of silence. The dullness of solitude. I would be lost without her precious voice ringing though the atmosphere. She fills the void between total emptiness and the constant interaction I secretly need. She keeps me going. Talking. Smiling.
As I pet her head and offer her an imaginary biscuit, she reminds me that she is no longer a dog. She’s a fish.
“Mom! I’m not a dog. I’m a fish. A blue one.”
“But, I’ll still take your biscuit. I’m a dogfish!”
“Let’s sing a poop song. About poop!”
“Come here, Mom! Quick! There’s a bird on our porch.”
“Where’s our reindeer? Ha ha! I mean our rain gear.”
“Do I have cookie on my face?”
“I can’t find my other sock. The pink one. Wahhh!”
“Please don’t ever sell our car. It’s my friend.”
“I’m a lion now. I’ll eat you!”
“Wait. Is it raining? I’m still trying to catch up.”
“I have another question.”
” … Oh yeah?”
“I love you.”
Yep. My daughter is a motormouth, and that’s okay.More On