I started writing this a month ago, and left it in draft because it wasn't going anywhere. Perhaps it hasn't gone anywhere yet, but I feel a need to complete something, even if it's just a bunch of related/disjointed thoughts.
I'd bet our family has spent more than the average amount of time in the car. Our extended road trips are a result, some would say punishment, for moving so far away from family. One of our first long trips was Utah to Iowa and back when the girls were four and two years old.
It may help to interject here and now that both girls were early talkers. I know that everyone thinks their kids are the smartest ever, the most highly advanced, blah, blah, and blah. But really, our kids started talking early. Mo's first word came at nine months when the 'b' sound she was experimenting with became 'b' words. Ball, button, balloon, bottle, baby - 'bah', 'buh-n', 'buh-nnn', 'ba', 'beh'. I counted her words on her first birthday, and the more than one hundred words in her vocabulary included strawberry and butterfly. ('BAH-deh-lee-deh-lee' and 'BUH--deh-lee-deh-lee'. They count. Yes, they do.) El's trajectory was similar to that point, though not as diligently documented since she is second.
Maybe all those 'b' words should have been a warning bell, a beam lighting futurity. I come from a quiet family. In my memory, dinners were often silent until I grew weary of only hearing silverware clicking on plates and faint eating noises and did something about it. I was the youngest, so there must have been noisier times in our home, but many of my memories begin about the time my older siblings reached the sullen, silent teenager phase. I had, for the most part, control of the noise level for a considerable number of years. I liked it that way.
The ramble above was a result of what follows.
Steve just looked over our phone bill. Keep in mind we were gone for ten days in Italy.
Texts sent last month:
Assuming that the bill is for around 20 days, that's further proof El talks nearly 70 times more than I do and close to 10 times more than her sister.
And Steve talks three times as much as me.
We've started a new Bible study at church, and this one is about the tongue. Someone brought up the 'fact' that women speak 3 times or 4 times or however many times more words in a day than men do. Familiar with that theory? It does not hold true with Steve and I. I even said so, out loud, but I don't think I was heard. I am most often the silent one. Not always, but often. In some ways my silence is my defense against saying something I will later regret. In spite of the fact that I am quiet by nature, I am still quite practiced in speaking, then thinking. This study should be good.
When we were in Iowa, on that road trip when the girls were four and two, my mom gave El a Happy Meal toy to play with. Pluto (or Goofy?) was on a little boat and a big blue fish was wound up to the end of the boat by a string. Pull - I can't think of a good sound for that - the fish, and whirr, the fish went back to the boat.
The drive home, for me, is characterized by two things:
Steve, as we neared Roundaboutthemiddleofnowhere, Wyoming quoted Jimmy Stewart in The Cheyenne Social Club: Harley, you've been talkin' for a thousand miles!
Some journeys require a lot of miles and a lot of words. You can quote me on that.