It has been said that silence can be deafening and, I am finding that it’s true.
It is uncharacteristically quiet at home this summer. The air conditioning is off now that cool has taken over what was a sticky, humid summer.
Both of the offspring are at work. The lazy days of childhood summers, or later of high school athletes working hard on the green are behind us. Everybody works now.
Today is my day off. It is in this moment that the house is so quiet.
There are no squeals from the slip and slide. No splashes from the pool. No wet footprints across the kitchen floor to the Popsicles always in the freezer.
There is no “mom can I?” Or “mom can you take us?” There are no errands, chicken nugget lunches, or afternoon trips to the cool silence of the local library.
No little feet race ahead of me to spin the big globe. No blanket forts which somehow manage to be noisy despite being constructed almost entirely of fabric and pillows.
No “hey mom come sit on the porch and watch it rain. Isn’t it cool?” No bubble wands discarded in the sand, or chalk drawings on the sidewalk.
Those activities always accompanied by the chatter of a little boy or little girl. No screen doors are banging, in and out, in and out.
They do still live at home, for this we are thankful. Coming home to an empty house, I do see a trail of where they have been. That much has not changed.
Workboots by the door hastily changed for sneakers before heading out. Lipgloss tubes and hair spray sitting on the side of the sink.
A coffee cup here, a cereal bowl there. Bobbi pins everywhere. They breed I think, like bunnies. Too many towels left behind to count.
Still, more often than not, I walk into a house of silence. Wet towels and dirty dishes don’t make much noise.
Giggling girls are not destroying our kitchen with waffles and whipped cream. Boys are not scurrying in and out of the barn, intent on building something, that’s a great big secret for now.
Most nights when I come home, the house is hushed. The quiet deafening.
Weekends we camp with the same group of friends-turned-family we have known since the kids were small. Now all the collective kids are grown or near so.
They head off in pairs and groups on their own adventures. We adults stay behind and mention how peaceful the quiet is.
No endless cycle of bicycles whirring on pavement, no rollerblades, sloshing buckets of lake water and tadpoles. No giggles and no one pleading for one more trip to the beach or playground.
Sitting around pretending to love the peace until one adult says simply “I miss it.” I miss it too.
Healthy birds fly. They also leave a quiet nest.
For 20 summers there were days I thought I would never get a moment of peace. Now some nights the sounds of silence overwhelm me.
If you are currently buried in the trenches of parenting young and noisy children, I am here to reassure you that this too shall pass.
More importantly, silence is very much overrated.
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