Voice Lessons

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It is Mother’s Day weekend!

I want to wish every mother and joyful guilt-free day doing whatever makes them feel pampered and appreciated.

This week seems the best time to express the enormous gratitude I feel towards my readers, many of whom are moms. Busy moms that barely have a moment to spare, yet find time to read my thoughts, reflections, and confessions week after week. Several of you are not mothers or even women, yet your readership supports a mom.

A mother’s life does not exist in a vacuum. It encompasses teachers, coaches, family members, neighbors, children – her own and others – and even strangers. Each of you has inspired me, and your voice bolsters my own. Your courage has given me strength and your creativity has fueled my imagination.

There would be no “Mom’s Voice” without all of the people who continue to help me find my way each day. Motherhood would be a very lonely profession if one tried to go at it alone. How many times a day do we call a friend for parenting advice or to share a funny story, accomplishment or frustration?

Unless we tragically lost our mother before we had solid memories of her, just about everyone can finish this sentence – “My mom always said …”

I hear my own mother’s voice say, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

My grandmother’s voice in my head repeats time after time, “There are a hundred noes for every yes. Every no you get it is one step closer to a yes.”

Her way of teaching me to never give up.

My other grandma would always tell me that when there was a ring around the moon, it meant rain. To this day, I hear her voice when I look up at the moon and see it illuminated around the edges.

It is eerie when we reflexively say the words we have heard our mothers or grandmothers say. We say things with the same intonation, the same inflection, without realizing it. Testament to the powerful role that oral tradition still plays in humanity.

When viewed in this way, I am reminded that what I believe, what I say will become part of my own children’s voices one day. That is a responsibility I think I am way too flippant about.

What will my voice sound like in their heads when they are grown? Hopefully it will be more than, “Did you brush your teeth?” or “Just put your shoes on in the car – we are going to be late!” or “You better get a ride home from school, I am going to check myself into an insane asylum today.” (Which was especially embarrassing when I pulled up to carpool and my daughter said, in front of her teacher, “Oh, you are here. I thought you were going to the insane asylum today.”)

To every mom this Mother’s Day, may your breakfast in bed be the best meal you’ve ever had, may you fold no laundry and wash not a single dish.

But above all, may your family sing the praises of your own unique and irreplaceable voice throughout the year.


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