Talking, talking, talking – originally published August 13, 2008

Alice Munro wrote in “The Spanish Lady”, about a woman riding on a train recalling a similar trip with her now-grown children,

“I had to sleep close beside them at night and sit with them climbing around me in the daytime; my body felt bruised by their knees and elbows and feet. I did think then that it would be lovely to be a woman traveling alone, able to sit after a meal drinking coffee and looking out the window, able to go to the club car and have a drink. Now…all that time of care and confusion that seemed as if it would never end seems as if it never were.”

I am trying to remind myself of these words, to cherish these fleeting moments. When I see the boys careening across the lawn together, chasing each other like the race cars they were in another life, I recall the days when they weren’t allowed outside by themselves, when they couldn’t walk or run or even play together in a meaningful way.

And so it is that I remind myself to cherish the constant, unceasing stream of chatter that follows me from room to room, leaving me with zero personal mental space. If conversations were a Venn diagram, then the content circles would only slightly overlap. The timing circles, however, would be directly on top of one another.

Mark (whose conversational style follows the three R’s – rapid, repetitive, and reference-book-like, if said reference book contained only vehicular information): “Mom, who do you like on the Cars Movie? Who do you like that starts with M? That could be Mater, or McQueen, or Mack. Or maybe minivan? Who do you like that starts with M? MOM. MOM. Mark is not a name on the Cars Movie. Would it be funny if I drove a cement mixer, but I put the chute down when I was driving, and cement was everywhere? Would that be funny? Do you like Doc Hudson’s tires when they are orange or silver? Mom? Orange or silver? You know the Caprice by Mike’s house? It’s not street legal. It doesn’t even have a license plate.”

Jake (whose conversational style mimics a Brad nailer – loud, staccato-like, and occasionally punctuated by a booming, air-compressor-like announcement): “MOM! Do you know what? MOM??? MOM??? I look like a bunny rabbit when I hop like this. Hop hop hop. Do you MOM??? MOM??? Do you know what else I like? I like elephants. I like Malti and also MOM? I like Spike! But he pooped! MOM! He pooped on the floor! At the MOM?? At the zoo!! Dad’s Cruiser has a cargo cover and he put, he put, he put, he put, his golf clubs in it! MOM! His golf clubs in it!! MOM???”

When the boys have left home, and call on occasion, and speak to me briefly, I will recall these days and the ensuing silence will be deafening.

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