With 2600 miles between us and our nearest child, we are actually empty nesters. No college students a mile up the road coming over for Sunday dinner and no one within range of my ebike.
It’s an interesting feeling. When I had three kiddos in diapers, I thought that to be diaper free would be life-changing. When that happened it was good, but not as big a deal as I expected. I have a feeling that’s what this empty-nest stage is going to be like.
Speaking with my dentist one day she suggested I have a metal filling replaced. Maybe it’s because I no longer deal with tweens and teens every day, but I felt a twinge of nostalgia for that filling and the 5 minutes of fame it represented.
We’ve all heard that the fillings in teeth have been known to broadcast radio stations (haven’t we?) but I don't spend much time thinking about sciency things. However, one morning everything changed.
I have lots of metal in my mouth, but that metal had never tuned in before. The only stimulation I’ve ever gotten is when I’ve accidentally chewed on a mouthful of tinfoil-covered baked potato. That morning was different.
When all 8 kids were under one roof, my morning routine consisted of: waking up children, getting breakfast ready, reminding someone to unload the dishwasher and packing lunches. The kids were eating breakfast and I was loading pretzels into a sandwich bag when I heard a voice. What was Marty doing talking on the phone so early? No, it wasn’t him. He was still asleep. Maybe the phone was off the hook and reminding me to hang up? Nope.
The voice continued. I couldn’t quite make out what it was saying, but it was definitely there, and it was a man’s voice. Kitchen radio: off; tv: off. What the heck? This was getting weird. I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I didn’t want to be alone with the voice so I walked back into the kitchen and told the kids that I could hear a voice in my right ear. “Whatever, mom,” Jake muttered. I told him to come listen for himself. He leaned over next to me, and he could hear it, too! A look of awe replaced the skeptical expression on his little mug. Never one to take a captive audience lightly, I eagerly filled the kids in on all I knew about tooth transmissions which, granted, wasn’t anything.
I felt a little strange being an antenna. But on the other hand, wow! Best of all, the kids were actually impressed. Truman came over and could hear the voice. Kate rushed over to listen. When she was next to me she said, “Ha ha, mom.” “Ha ha, yourself,” I said. “I'll be laughing all the way to Bill Nye the Science Guy!" Then she pointed to the earbuds I had slung around my neck after the morning din had become too loud to hear my book. I had forgotten to turn my Ipod off. In the time it took for my 9 year old to toss me a withering glance, I went from cool to fuel for another dorky mom story. What’s new?