Tell Me a Story

His voice surprises me every Sunday evening.

Sundays are for phone calls home. Time to talk about midterms and dorm food; to tease his sister a bit and catch us up on his life away from home.

It’s the only time each week I hear his voice now. It’s strong and deep.

The voice of a young man.

That very same voice that I remember hearing incessantly, ever since he found the usefulness of language and started to babble.

He told vivid stories, long and detailed…about dinosaurs or Bionicle characters or knights in shining armor. And in that long part of the afternoon, when dinner is looming too far away and naps are finished, he would tell his tales.

On car rides to grandparent’s houses, or just a trip to the neighborhood store. The stories, they flowed.

Once his sister was born, he had a new audience. She listened and watched and smiled.

And he went on and on.

I know I tuned out quite a bit; continued to shake my head and nod, throwing in a few “uh-huhs” for good mom points.

He was creating worlds that made him happy, that made even the worst day at school seem easy to handle.

I just couldn’t imagine a time when the stories would end.

Or turn into grown up stories.

Of paying bills and managing laundry; scheduling classes and planning for his degree.

These once-a-week stories from a young man’s voice have nothing to do with pirates or knights; and yet they are magical.

He’s building his own world, one independent step at a time. Chasing a dream, following a passion, developing a future for himself. Something to call his own.

And crafting his tale one Sunday night phone call at a time.

And just maybe, those stories he told for hours on end helped him get where he is today.

I’m glad I listened.

At least half the time.


  1. I love it. I was reading the Lorax today and I couldn’t get through a single page without having to have a long discussion about what was going on. I tuned out a little. But not completely.

    Thanks for the reminder, friend!

  2. My 12 year old is still babbling. I can’t imagine her not being around to fill our house with words. I will start listening… and maybe even recording. So that if the quiet fills me up too much I can just press play.

  3. I have tuned out also, but this is a great reminder to listen as they write their own stories. Love it!

  4. Guilty as charged, as I believe we all are.
    But it is a good thing that we get a reminder … but the best part of this story _ is that he calls home very week. Every week he needs to talk too you.
    That shows a job well done xxx

  5. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be ready to hear that voice in Ethan. Ever. This is such a great reminder that it’s okay to tune out as long as you remember what’s important!

  6. You cow. You made me cry, and my husband looked at me like I was a little crazy… although, by now I think he’d used to it.

  7. This is beautiful. Sunday afternoons was also my call-home time when I was in college! Sounds like you did something right, if he still wants to tell you the stories πŸ™‚

  8. I was thinking about phone calls as I read this. I’m not a phone person. Nor is mr kiss. Are we teaching the boys to avoid the phone? Which means I’ll not have these Sunday night calls? Oh dear!
    Great reminder, though, as I was in a whirlwind of “why” and “knock knock jokes” last night.

  9. This is such a great reminder that I need to listen to my guy’s tales carefully.

  10. Such a beautiful post…and tells me to cherish the little 4 year old voice telling me all about life from the backseat, he won’t be that little forever!

  11. Beautiful, Sherri. What an incredible feeling…so grown up, yet still so much to learn…and you have been there every step of the way. Love.

  12. So lovely, my friend.
    And you know what my take away is from this post?
    Start dreaming up ways to keep my kids from ever leaving.
    That’s what you were trying to tell me, right?

  13. As I read your words I imagined the young men my little boys will eventually become. Bittersweet.
    You’re such a devoted mother. You really inspire me with your love.

  14. Oh, tears! My Abbey is a crazy talker; she will talk talk talk, go to sleep midsentence and wake up as though she never stopped talking. There are times when I just tune out or wish for a few minutes of quiet. Then I read this and realize I need to cherish these moments. The thought of hearing her voice only once a week takes my breath away.

  15. this growing up thing is awesome and heartbreaking, ain’t it? when my college girl calls home with little to report, I make up stories about the neighbors, so desperate am I to hear that voice on the phone.

  16. This is so lovely and hopeful. Hope that my kids will call and continue to tell me stories when they reach that age.
    By the way, I found you through Jennifer, Kvetch Mom, and Twitter. So glad I did.

  17. Oh I love this Sherri. It comes at the perfect time, when my son has started the “why’s” and I am trying so hard to appreciate them because I know it is just a short phase and part of him growing up.

  18. They ARE magical – and so was this post. Chalupa Sr. is big into telling stories now and I’m big into uh-huhing, but I will miss them when they stop. Or change.

  19. OH wow did I need to read this.

    I pick the kids up from middle school (the last year they’ll both be there together) and they stumble over each others’ words telling me about their days.

    Even though they are 14 and 12.

    But I’m 43 (and somehow too dumb) to focus on them entirely. Instead, I’m thinking about my blog post or reworking a sticky plot conflict for my WIP or worrying about whether or not the water bill is overdue and composing a message to Bill about what he wants for dinner in my head that I’ll send when I get home but I’m driving so I can’t text him now and did I fill out the paperwork for the fundraiser and then I realize I’m pulling into the driveway.

    Wait. Was I driving? How did I get home?
    And are the kids still talking?
    What did they say?

    I need to listen. And be present.
    I do.

    For so many reasons (not the least of which is safety in the car!).

    But the reason I am focusing on right now is that voice; the one coming out of my 14-year-old’s mouth that has already begun changing.

    It’s still here though.
    For now.

    Thanks for reminding me to really listen.

  20. Seriously Sherri… The way you write is so beautiful…

  21. My boy is almost 3. Already I’m irrationally emotionally about him leaving me to be a grown man someday. I know, I know. Don’t go looking for trouble that’s years away.

    But still.

    Great post.

  22. Darn it! Your making me nastolgic and my oldest is only six. I seem to be obsessed with how quickly it is all passing. My baby is nine months now, and already standing on his chubby legs. In my mind I have already sent him off to college and am sitting at home as an empty nester. I know I will be there in a blink of an eye. It all moves so fast. I am trying hard to savor all these moments, but sometimes it’s so hard not to “tune out”…

  23. This made me cry. Lucas is a babbler and has a wonderful and very active imagination. He is a good story teller too. xoxo

  24. It’s always been my goal to raise a son who calls home every Sunday, the way my hubby calls his own mother. I may not know him personally, but I can tell you raised a good one.

  25. I agree with Julie. I needed to read this right now. It’s so easy to tune out the seemingly endless conversations (ok, not seemingly, definitely) that come from my oldest. But one day she’ll be all grown up and those conversations will be so much different.

    I appreciate so much how you share this part of your life with us – growing into having a child away from home. It’s a good reminder for those of us who sometimes count the hours until bedtime.

    Thanks, Sherri.

  26. This is awesome. My college boy is turning into a man, too. I noticed this when we put our dog down a couple of weeks ago and he called and texted his dad, his sister, and me more than once to see how we were doing. Love that kid….Yes, they’re still our kids. πŸ™‚

  27. Oh man, I wish I knew all the things my kids said that I tuned out, and I love every word that I heard. Even the sobbed and screaming ones that I thought I’d never appreciate. My college daughter is maturing so fast now, it’s incredible. (We have two that are out, and have flown the next) Two left at home to listen to. Or half hear πŸ™‚

  28. Your posts are so beautiful. They always come at a time when I need a reminder to listen more and spend more time.

  29. I can’t always tell now when I call the house which man has answered.

    So mostly I hope my daughter answers – it’s just less awkward that way.

    *sigh* And I hope the kids call us from school.

    A lot.

  30. Wow, the time really does go by that fast, doesn’t it? My little guy, at age 3, is just beginning to tell those stories, and I know if I don’t savor them, they’ll soon turn to grown-up stories right before my eyes (or ears). You must be so proud of your (gulp) young man…

  31. Oh…but isn’t it cool seeing your kids are growing up so well? He sounds great. πŸ™‚

  32. Oh…but isn’t it cool seeing your kids are growing up so well? He sounds great. πŸ™‚

  33. I needed to hear this today. It is so often, lately, that I find myself asking them to repeat what they just said to me. I know those stories won’t last forever.

  34. I love that there’s a weekly check-in! I bet you are so anxious come Sunday morning, just waiting for his call.

  35. So beautiful Sherri! Sounds like the first year is going well. Can you believe this time last year we were both worrying about our kiddos leaving the nest? Hope all is well with you! πŸ™‚

  36. Do you know it’s posts like these that remind me to bend down and become face to face with Eddie when he is tripping over how quickly the words come to his mind, but how slowly they come out of his mouth. So excited to tell me how he rode a tricycle by “his own self” or went on a “big BIG walk” and millions of other things that happened in his day.

    I have noticed that I am one of the only ones who drops what I am doing, and gets down by him to hear him. To listen.

    Which is probably why he tells ME everything.

    I would love to keep it that way.

    I would love to someday get the Sunday phone call because he wants to tell his mom everything from the week.

  37. There was a time when all I wanted to hear was my sweet, first born talk. He struggled finding words and we dealt with a stubborn speech delay. Often, he relied on his younger brother to talk for him. It created a bond that I’m not even sure they realize is there.
    Then came the time they were both talking. All the time. Incessantly telling stories about EVERYTHING.
    Even now, they want to talk about the most ridiculous things, but when I start getting annoyed I remind myself that I’m lucky they even want to be in the same room with me let alone having a conversation.
    So I listen. Mostly.