I have a horrible confession to make. While speeding down the highway at lightning speed, I converse with my three kiddos…by watching their lips through the rearview mirror.
My oldest son sits up front and has a deep tone to his voice that is easy for my ears to hear. But my youngest son and 8-year-old daughter in the backseat must yell or kick my seat to get my attention while driving. Scary and unnerving. When I scold them for being rude, they continue blabbing away to me.
“LOO AH AH,” my girl says.
“Huh?” I glance at her through the rearview mirror.
“Look at me,” she repeats with careful enunciation.
Thus begins our roadway conversation. My eyes alternate between the striped lines on the highway and my daughter’s sky blue eyes in the backseat.
“Do you wanna go to—”
“Wait,” I interrupt her, “can’t talk now.”
A semi-truck attempts to merge into my lane. I speed up before my mini-van collides with it and makes us both subjects on the 6 o’clock news.
The banter with my kids consists of, “Not now. I have to keep my eyes on the road,” and “There’s a stoplight. Okay. What do you wanna talk about?”
By the end of our drive, my knuckles on the steering wheel are white, and I have developed the beginning stages of a migraine.
I’ve looked into wearing one of those portable listening devices called an FM system. I wear the receiving end, and my kids each take turns speaking into the tiny microphone. But I’ve heard horror stories about people sneezing or coughing into those microphones so loud that the person on the receiving end literally jumps out of her seat. Not a safe situation for a Lipreading Mom behind the wheel.
So I continue hushing my kids when I can’t lip read them, then encourage their chatter when I get to stop signs. It’s an interesting way to communicate, but it works for us.
In the meantime, my mini-van has the battle scars of my attempts at lipreading while driving: a dented bumper, scrape on the back door, and a missing passenger sideview mirror.
Hey, nobody’s perfect.
CrossRiver Media just published my story, “God Speaks on Bumper Stickers.” I am excited to be working with CrossRiver publisher Tamara Clymer on my upcoming book Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom. Do you want to know how bad my driving skills really are? Take a look at my CrossRiver story (and my mini-van) to find out!