I expected the lack of sleep. I knew I would be kissing my uninterrupted nights goodbye, at least for a while.
I understood I would have to give up my freedom, that I would be trading it in for the demands of a tiny soul who needed me far more than I needed my spontaneity.
I was told that I would forever worry, from here on out, because my one heartbeat would be divided into many, each with a destiny out of my control.
I knew these things—expected them—saw them coming from a mile (or at least, nine months) away.
But the noise of motherhood—I wasn’t ready for that, because no one told me how loud this life would be.
I didn’t know that the noise would become a constant in my life, lingering in the foreground, background, ALL the grounds, of every moment of every day.
I never knew how much I craved silence—how much I needed it— until silence was suddenly nowhere to be found.
Because here’s the thing: this motherhood gig? While it’s beautiful, and overwhelming, and busy, and worthwhile, and cherished . . . one thing that it can almost never, ever be described as, is quiet.
Some days, the loudness breaks me.
It’s in the cries that barge into my sleep before the sun rises.
It’s in the annoyingly memorable cartoon theme songs that are the soundtrack to our mornings, along with the clinking of spoons on cereal bowls and the sleepy whines of children who haven’t fully woken up yet.
It’s in the toy trucks that are driven recklessly across the wood floors, the dishes that are pulled from the cupboards to be used as drums, and the pitter-patter of little feet scattering in every direction.
It’s in the tantrums over who-really-knows-what, and the stubborn protests of toddlerhood.
It’s in the, “I’m hungry’s” and “Mommy, I need you’s” that tug at me, demanding my constant attention.
It’s in the “why”s and “how”s and “what”s from curious minds that never slow down.
It’s in the fact that sometimes I can’t even hear myself think or find the air to breathe because all of the noise and chaos and LOUD is just so very suffocating.
The irony of it all, is that the loudness that breaks me is also the very thing that makes me whole.
It’s in the sweet, sleepy sighs of a baby sinking into me for early morning cuddles.
It’s in the giggles that fill this home, bouncing off of every wall and spreading a contagious warmth.
It’s in the songs that are sung so sweetly and the innocent comments that send us into tailspins of laughter.
It’s in the sound of Daddy’s bedtime stories drifting across the house as the littles snuggled in his arms squeal with delight.
It’s in all of the common, everyday noises that somehow never lose their magic, no matter how many times they meet my ears.
Today, it’s all of these things.
Tomorrow, the sounds may be of homework thoughtfully discussed at the kitchen table or basketballs being dribbled through the front door even though it’s against the rules.
Just a blink after that, the sounds will be of teenagers; of conversations that are deeper both in tenor and in subject. It’ll be of jingling car keys and revving engines as my whole world heads down the driveway without me, leaving me to desperately whisper prayers of safety.
And then, it’ll find me again—the silence.
I’ll go through my days in the cloud of calm I so desperately long for during this season. I’ll sit in quiet reflection, and with a smile tugging at the corners of my lips and tears stinging my eyes, I’ll fondly remember all of this noise.
The loudness of this motherhood thing—the kind that never rests, never sleeps, never stops—it makes me and it breaks me, both things are true.
But the other truth of it all is this: someday, when all of this is in my rearview, the silence that fills this home will be the most deafening sound of all.