– An Ego’s Audition
She had a small voice that desperately wanted to sing, but at times wanted to scream.
If finding a voice, is finding who someone is and expressing what they find, you could barely hear her speak.
Her eldest children were approaching 30, an age at one time she would have immediately equated with the word old. How did this happen? When did things change? Was it when they went off to college, when they walked down the aisle or was it when they became parents gifting her grand-motherhood while she was still busy intensely trying to redevelop her abdominal core and coloring her hair?
Graceful aging, it’s called. Accepting that only surgical procedures would reverse the gravitational pull, is what she named it. And while she was busy considering vanity, her voice was getting smaller.
Not so long ago, there was a voice. It taught her children principled living graciously mixed with a ticket for exploration. There were times, they listened for the answer. In later times, their friends had better suggestions. Their worlds of influence continued to expand when husbands and their families came into the picture. That voice got ever smaller.
More recently, she noticed she monopolized conversations with her grown children, in-laws included. In her misled conception of having all the answers, constantly stepping into professor shoes, her voice desperately strove to bring value, having so much to say. All that time, the volume was being noticeably turned down.
The children’s own voices were morphing into a personalized set of values, hopes, and dreams. Not only that, their own little ones were now listening. It was in the madness of frantic family gatherings, her voice nearly disappeared.
Her sorrowful stare only hinted at the voice screaming inside, which seemed to fit well in a quieter world where her voice started speaking on paper.
The story of a self-pitying, washed up career woman turned housewife, was starting to be written. At this point, the muse visited granting an inner voice permission to get louder. Poetic expressions peeled open, releasing a storm brimming below, and rain poured out in tears.
It was clear her voice was needed. She knew what was needed, carefully crafting stories to share with those she loved. Further, her discovery dictated that on the outside it’s better if she spoke rarely, upon invitation, and very quietly, while the seasoned woman simmered below.
And then no one is sure how it happened, but she could suddenly sing. The tone-deaf days of her youth had passed. As she sang a bedtime serenade, “Think of Me”, from the Phantom of the Opera, for an audience of toddlers, her sweet granddaughter couldn’t hide awe-stricken admiration imploring, “How’d you learn to sing so good?” The grandmother’s song had come from a place often hid, the deepest part of an experience-laden core, and the sweet youthful appraisal from her progeny struck the heart of meaning.
She had always wanted to sing, and now she had reached the pinnacle of stardom in the music hall called Grand-motherhood.
Her tiny voice was singing, and the only screaming she wanted to do now was from the rooftops!
-Erika K Rothwell