As a young kid I remember hearing adults say “your mom has eyes in the back of her head” – implying that she could see everything I did so I should be wary. Those adults had it all wrong. Moms don’t see everything. They hear everything.
There are a few truths about motherhood, and one of them for me is that I have superhero-level hearing now that I’m a mom. And I don’t simply hear, but I interpret these sounds of motherhood lightning fast. My mom wasn’t seeing what I was doing all those years (and probably still), she was listening and listening well. I am honing that same skill with my kids.
I know a dropped book versus a thrown book when it hits the floor. I can tell gentle pats on the baby’s back that slowly turn into I-love-you-so-hard pats on the back. The snip of adult scissors sound different than that of kid scissors. A chair getting dragged across the floor to help reach higher places, I hear that from the backyard. I can even distinguish which kitchen cabinet is being opened, and by which set of small hands.
I have also discovered that my partner walks with elephant feet, which I’m sure she did pre-kids, I simply never noticed. And can I get some acknowledgement about the wood floors please? They squeak in ways I never knew. The dog whines much more than I remember too. Do I hear my baby crying in the middle of the night? Oh wait, I’m on a work trip, blissfully in a hotel room alone – I even hear phantom kid sounds. And then there’s the scary silence of toddlers who decide to paint all twenty of their nails on your bed while you are in the shower. But the pride in her voice of doing it by herself, that’s a sound worth all the silence. All sounds, real or not, are heightened when you become a mom.
The sounds of motherhood also mean hearing your three year old sweetly sing You Are My Sunshine to her brother when he’s upset. It’s the instinctive clapping by uncoordinated hands whenever music plays. Or the unsolicited swish of brushing teeth. I hear hushed sounds of deep sleep and morning sounds of greeting the world. Words as they’re learned and practiced make joyful noise from the backseat. The giggles and squeals of dancing under the biggest rain drops we’ve ever seen make me feel like exploding.
I hear my life as a mom and I love every sound.