The Sounds of Love Return

In exactly ONE WEEK I will have my B back under our roof for the first time since starting college.  It’s only been 90 days, but it feels like a lifetime.  I’ve had the joy of visiting him during Parent’s Weekend, the gift of talking to him every Monday and the freedom to text with him whenever my hearts desire (although I haven’t abused that privilege)!  But none of that replaces the feeling of having your cub back in the cave.  I’m SO looking forward to the simple things, the ordinary things, the everyday things that I’ve missed these past 3 months.

As I was living through his senior year in high school, anticipating what it would be like to not have him in my day to day life,  I wrote this post about noticing and loving all the noises he makes, The Sounds of Love as I called them.  In exactly ONE WEEK – those sounds of love return!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, as you spend quality time with the people in your life – pause to notice the simple, ordinary things that make your family and friends distinctly who they are.


After our first yellow lab Jake passed away, the loss was undeniable.  I knew I’d miss the feel of his warm tongue licking my feet, his soft fur as I ran my hands the length of his back, and the weight of his body propped against me as we cuddled.  What I was not prepared for though, was missing his sounds.  The intense panting after a good hard play.  His nails as they clicked across the wood floor.  The non stop lapping of water to complete his meal.  The thud of his 85 lb body finally collapsing onto the floor after walking in circles searching for the perfect spot to rest.  The clinking of metal as he licked the food crusted silverware propped in the dishwasher.



Those noises were distinctly his.  After his passing, the house was quiet and I desperately missed his noises.  They were the sounds of love.

School was closed on Monday in honor of Veteran’s day.  Although Ben, my senior, typically studies in his room, I casually asked him if he wanted to join me in the kitchen to do homework while I wrote.  Without hesitation, he said “Sure!”, headed upstairs to grab his books and promptly joined me at the kitchen table.

So there I sat, attempting to write, but instead I was distracted by my 17 year old man-child as I like to call him, sitting just ten feet away from me.  There wasn’t anything in particular he was doing to distract me.  Simply by being there with me, even though he could have chosen any number of other places to spend his morning, was distracting in and of itself.  The harsh reality hit me that this time next year, this scenario would not be an option.

My fingers were propped on the key board, my brain willing them to start writing.  But all I could do was breathe and be present, drinking in every ounce of that moment in an attempt to hold onto it, to stop time.


Suddenly the sound of gum cracking and bubble popping startled me from my Hallmark moment.  I chuckled inside thinking about how his brain was able to command him to solve calculus problems and manipulate large quantities of bubblegum all at the same time.  Like a flash from the past, it hit me that his gum chewing is just one of countless sounds that are distinctly his, and I’m instantly transported back to the days following the passing of our yellow lab Jake.

This time I will be better prepared, making sure to notice and appreciate all of Ben’s sounds before he goes off to college, and they become a distant memory.

When I think of Ben, what I hear is….


Beard scratching – It doesn’t take but a day or two for Ben to transform from my man-child to my mountain man-child, complete with a scruffy beard.  Given that it’s day eleven of “No-Shave November”, his cheeks are a jungle, and apparently it’s quite itchy, because I can hear him feverishly scratching his face from across the table.

Insanely rapid texting – Ben is by far the fastest texter I’ve ever met.  It’s visually compelling to witness the speed of his fingers moving across the tiny keyboard, but even more startling to hear the pace at which he can knock out a 2-thumbed conversation.


Heard of Elephants – Ben has an unmistakable sound to his walk, which is only enhanced when he travels up or down our staircase.  Sometimes it’s gazelle like as he prances up or down the stairs.  This morning, however, it was more like a heard of elephants stampeding as he took them by two’s.

Music, music everywhere – Wherever Ben is, there is music.  His playlist constantly blasts through his iPhone, MacBook or car stereo.  The only time I find him music-less is when he is reading or sleeping.  Yes, he’s even rocking out to tunes while doing homework.

Bad Karaoke – If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Ben sing, be thankful.  The poor guy was born tone deaf and can’t carry a note to save his life.  As much as it hurts my ears at times, I embrace his bad karaoke, because he’s never let his inability to sing on key stop him from belting out his favorite songs with passion.


Toe tapping, hand rapping, pencil slapping – This should come as no surprise, given Ben’s propensity towards music.  When he’s not singing, he’s rhythmically keeping beat to his music.  They say music and math go well together, which is probably why he’s able to drum to Coldplay while solving calculus problems (and scratching his beard, chewing gum and texting!)

Soothing deep voice – I wouldn’t call it a radio voice, but he has such a deep, soothing tone when he speaks.  My two favorite things to hear him say are “Hey Mom” and “I love you”, because they make me feel special.  How lucky am I that I get to hear those words every day?


Those are just a few of the sounds that are recognizably Ben.  For me, they are the sounds of love…..

with Joy, Gratitude & Love

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