As a mother of two rambunctiously energetic children, peace and quiet is a scarcity in my home. The walls echo with screaming when daddy chases them, crying when one of them takes a toy from the other and glorious giggles at just about anything silly. Being their four and five year old selves, they are adorable yet arduous, curious yet challenging and loud yet louder.
Friends have learned to pause when talking to me on the phone while I find a silent sanctuary away from the noise in my house. This could be anything from the corner of my son’s room, which he only uses for sleep and not play, to my bedroom, which is nicely equipped with not one but three locks, or in times of desperation my car parked in the driveway.
There are times I find myself mindlessly driving to work and 20 minutes into my commute realizing the quiet the surrounds me, as if I’ve been hypnotized by the silence. Grinning and sipping coffee not at all interested in listening to the radio or talk on the phone, just enjoy the peace.
I won’t lie, there have been days the noise has nearly driven me to my breaking point. Days spent couped up in a house with a newborn and infant, then two toddlers wasn’t easy as my two offspring continued to grow. What went from endless crying and fussing, turned to tantrums times two, and today it’s just the loudness that comes with having kids. I yell “take it outside!” or “use your indoor voice!”– anything to get away from the cacophony that accompanies my life with my children.
But there is more to this noise. There is the life that is happening beyond and behind the crying, screaming and laughter.
One random Sunday morning I wake up, and to my surprise the house is quiet. Being a self-proclaimed “sleepyhead,” this mama likes her naps and sleeping in on the weekends. I sneak out of bed as to not awaken my husband who is in his silent slumber. I tiptoe out to the kitchen, quietly open the cupboard and grab a mug that will soon hold my morning sustenance: coffee.
Making my way to the couch, I don’t dare turn on the television to watch my favorite news shows as the clamor of the network and pundits would surely awaken the household. Instead, I grab my phone and settle in the couch reading the news of the day between sips of my morning joe. It’s bliss. It’s even raining outside, as if God is giving me this serenity in a pleasant quiet gift. All I hear is the calming sound of the rain hitting the rooftop, and I sneak glances out the glass doors to watch the rain fall. It’s what every mother desires. Time for herself… and the quiet. The glorious tranquility of silence.
It doesn’t last long.
Soon the 4 year old boy comes out in his Spiderman pajamas with a big smile inquiring about our breakfast plans. This is followed by a beautiful five year old girl, hair a mess in mismatched clothes she picked herself. They proceed to awake the patriarch of the family. Before I know it, I hear roaring from my husband as he plays “the bear” the kids have awoken. Two kids laughing and screaming, gasping for breath in-between.
This commotion spills out into my bubble of serenity I’ve created with my coffee and my newsfeed on my phone. I side-eye the silliness that surrounds me, forcing a smile. Determined to finish my cup of coffee before I fully engage, I call my daughter over and give her a quick squeeze and a kiss. The little guy follows in suit. I advise that mommy will make breakfast once she finishes her coffee and remind them of the fresh fruit to snack on, knowing they will make a bee-line for the sugar-laden cereal before I get up and make eggs. I let this slide as the current article I’m reading has all of my attention at the moment.
To my surprise they opt to wait me out. Sitting on the couch next to me, talking and asking questions incessantly. I look over at my husband as a lifeline, communicating through my facial expressions that I desperately want to finish my coffee, and non-verabally requesting he “take one for the team.”
He catches on and springs out of the recliner, “Who wants donuts for breakfast?” In my head I conjure up the image of the face palm emoji. An argument ensues as the boy wants pancakes and the girl wants pastries from the bakery.
“I have a good idea,” screams my daughter. “Let’s have a race and whoever wins gets their choice.”
NO. I think in my head.
Dad suggests rock, paper, scissors. My son begins to meltdown realizing that pancakes might not be in his immediate future.
I sigh loudly as a reminder to everyone that I’m still in the room and trying to peacefully read.
Before I know it, two children are doing sprints back and forth in my living room.
“No running in the house,” I say though no one can hear me as dad is in on the action yelling “Go” and laughter and the sound of small feet across hardwood floors drowns me out.
“Ready, set…pancake” their daddy says which is a huge crowd pleaser causing an explosion of uncontrollable giggles that give into full on laughter.
At this point, I’m in on the game. Their laughter and the joy that fills the house takes me away from my phone and the news of the day. I watch my girl who spends most of her days now in her room playing with her ponies and dollhouse holding her brother’s hand helping him up when he falls on the ground literally rolling in laughter. This little girl who will walk into kindergarten in just a few weeks. A girl who I could’ve sworn just yesterday was falling asleep in my arms after having her bottle.
My boy has a joyous expression on his face that can not even be put into words. He holds his tummy as he giggles and looks up at my husband waiting for him to say “go” or trick him by saying “television” or “fence.” Any word his daddy says will be met with smiles and laughter. And I know it won’t always be like this.
So I embrace it. I soak up every squeel. Savor every scream. Because I know just like that it will all be too quiet. A day will come when I will have the freedom to sit for hours with my coffee and my phone waiting to hear their voices while they’re out conquering this world. A day will come when my daughter won’t ever hold her brother’s hand again because “it’s weird.” The day when my son will look his father in the eye and not be smiling and waiting with eagerness for whatever might come out of my husband’s mouth.
Embrace the noise today, because you have the rest of their lives to embrace the silence.