"This is my answering machine," I muttered
under my breath, as I listened to yet another series of messages
to my daughter from her 12-year-old friend.
"Hi, Heidi, this is Whiney Voice. It's 2:45. Call me."
"Heidi, this is Whiney Voice again. It's 2:58 and you
haven't called me yet."
"Hi, Heidi. It's 3:12. . ."
Get the picture? And it wasn't just one of Heidi's
buddies who left message after message. A number of them did. Sometimes
there were long, drawn-out apologies or explanations destined to
One girl always mumbled so fast, you could never tell what she said.
These days the boys are beginning to call. Some still
sound like girls, while others have voices way too deep to be calling
Do the kids actually think Heidi is the Queen of the Answering Machine?
Not about to give up my throne, I retaliated, "Hi. Please leave
a message after the beep. And to all of Heidi's little friends,
please leave only one message per day." "Mom," Heidi
confronted me later that week. "Some of my friends are offended.
You called them little friends'."
"You'd prefer enormous comrades?" I offered.
"Mom. . ." she groaned.
Okay, so I edited it a bit.
My favorite outgoing message was the one I recorded
last July 30, "Hi . . . Heidi will be out of town until the
end of August, so please don't leave any messages for her until
Of course, I missed her while she was gone, but phone-wise it was
a wonderful month. Some days I'd even come home to no new messages!
Realizing Heidi's return from Grandma's
would signal a barrage of calls, I bought myself a present
an answering machine with three voice boxes.
"Hi. Please leave a message for us after the beep. Heidi's
friends can press star two to leave a message for her. Ryan's
friends, star three."
Even during the first few days, I was pretty pleased
with myself. Few kids knew Heidi was back, so I had a day or so
reprieve before the deluge began. On her fourth day back, Heidi
was gone and I was atop the house helping the guys re-roof. No way
was I going to answer the phone, which rang and rang it seemed
like a bazillion times.
By the end of the day, both Heidi's and my "mailboxes"
were blinking 20 messages were waiting!
When Her Heidiness had finished answering her subjects' calls,
I finally had a chance to check my messages two of them to
be precise and they were both from Heidi!
The new answering machine has been a godsend, I know.
But, I have a feeling the issue of just who is the Queen of the
Phone will rear its ugly head again and again as we travel through
Heidi's teen years.
Even as I'm writing this, dog-tired after two days of playing
"Cat on the Hot Non-Tin Roof", Heidi came into my room
with her phone on her ear, of course.
"I thought you were going to bed," she said. "You
said you were exhausted." "Yeah, but I'm inspired,"
I told her.
"Hold on," she told her phone buddy, and then stared at
me. "You're what?" "Inspired," I flashed
her an I'm-up-to-something grin, which she recognized.
"Oh, no. You're writing about us again," Heidi groaned.
She kept talking to herself as she left the room, "Why don't
you just go to bed? I'm gonna sue you. I know where you live.
I even know where you sleep. . ."
Two minutes later, phone still glued to her ear, Heidi
poked her head into the room, "Lynessa said you'd better
put in there that I'm talking to her."
"I called her your phone buddy."
"You're weird," my daughter decided.
"Yeah, but I love you," I countered.
"I love you, too, Mom."
Four years later: Heidi's now almost 16. . .and she has her
own phone line.