I didn’t realize how much I loved silence until I didn’t have it.
There is a cacophony of sound that thrums it’s way through the walls of my home from very early until very late. Laughter, whining, shrieks of delight, cries of frustration, music, television, arguing, playing, balls bouncing, and the list could go on. It starts often before the sun rises, and stops long after she tucks back below the horizon.
And I feel like I’m losing my mind.
Summertime means an uptick in the sound, and that’s okay. For the most part, I welcome this noise. It’s all signs of life. I’m not so overwhelmed as to miss the blessing in the messy music of my family, but every once in awhile I dream of running away. Far, far away…
We spent a full week on vacation. Six of us crammed into one small hotel room, one small rental car, one short window of time. It was truly a lovely week. My kids are growing into wonderful people, and I can look back on our week together and think of so much joy, which buried the few moments of stress. Yay us!
But we’re home now, and they’re still on summer break, and it’s just so noisy!
The irony of this is that I am currently sitting at my kitchen table in a completely silent house. Everyone is still asleep, and somehow I’ve been afforded these few solitary moments to myself…and I don’t quite know what to do with all this silence.
Of course these quiet moments came with a price, as I was awakened at 3:30 this morning by a fussy toddler, and I never went back to sleep.
Please send coffee.
As I sit here, I keep hearing little bumps and creaks as the house groans her way into a new day, and each time a noise pops, I look around wildly, waiting for someone to come out and shatter the quiet.
It’s sort of like motherhood PTSD – every little noise makes me cringe.
Maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe you feel the same way? Perhaps you long for just a few solitary moments of quiet in the midst of bustling, nonstop days. Surely I’m not the only one who finds herself escaping to the closet a few times each day just to block out the noise.
So what do we do? Because the prevailing theme of motherhood is that we should enjoy these fleeting days because they go by fast. I don’t deny that. My oldest is a teenager now. I blinked my eyes, and he was suddenly as tall as me. I know these days are fleeting. But let’s be honest – a day that starts at 3:30 drags on forever. And ever and ever and ever…
And so, I write this one to those of you who are longing for silence amidst the fleeting days of parenting. What can you do?
Not forever, of course. Running away from home would be frowned upon. But you can escape for a few minutes, if not for a few days.
Turn off your phone. Eliminate the noise of the world. Close the door to your bedroom. Close your eyes, and just breath in the silence.
The children will find you, of course. It’s inevitable. But you’d be amazed at the calming power of a few moments of silence.
And when the kids finally go back to bed and you crawl beneath the sheets, embrace the silence for however long it lasts. Because someday, it will last much longer than you like.
It turns out even silence can be loud.
I have some fun news to share with everyone!
I’ve been selected to present Like a River From Its Course at the 2016 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, and I am thrilled!
Watch the video for more information, and if you’re in Florida I would love to have you come join me on Saturday, November 12 as I share more of the firsthand stories that influenced the book!