The Unexpected Voice

"Do we have any blueberry muffins left?"

It seems an innocuous enough question. Mostly harmless. Yet, when I heard it, I let out a yelp and jumped, completely startled. Because the voice came from behind me and it was no longer the voice of my fourteen-year old son, Kyle, but the voice of a strange man who'd just entered my kitchen.

Both of my sons' voices have changed. Are changing. They're getting deeper and deeper by the day. At times I've heard them talking and I've wondered, "Who's here?" or "What's my husband doing home so early?" (This alone would make me yelp and jump, completely startled.) The change has been happening so gradually, you'd think it wouldn't startle me. And I know the theory of "the unexpected human voice" and all, the fight or flight response ingrained in our nature, causing us to start when we think we're alone and suddenly discover we're not. It makes good Darwinian sense, but I'd still rather not encounter this phenomenon when I'm cleaning out my refrigerator.

It made me feel horribly guilty, too, that I didn't even recognize my own son's voice. Like all those times at the playground when I heard some kid scream, "Mom!" and snapped my head to look thinking it was one of mine, then just pretended I'd encountered a flying bug, or forgotten my medication or something.

I suppose I should be grateful the boys aren't going through some horrible voice-cracking rite of puberty passage, the way Peter did in that one Brady Bunch episode with the band. But it seems like their voices keep getting deeper by the day and I fear at some point mere humans will not be able to hear them and our only indication that they're speaking will be when the dog does that weird, I don't get it, head-tilt-thing and all the woodland animals start to flee the forest.

Regardless, the scare was good for my heart. This sidelined runner thinks she probably hit target in about half of a second, which although it's not my preferred method of cardio, was still effective. And it beat the crap out of those dumb elliptical machines. It's just unfortunate how much my own son's voice scared the crap out of me, which is ironic because he's such a nice kid.

But I think I'll be keeping plenty of blueberry muffins around, just in case.


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