quiet: making no noise or sound, especially no disturbing sound.
Quiet. Nothing but the rustle of the sheets as I leisurely slide out of bed, the soft pad of my feet on the way to the bathroom, then the pleasant splash of warm water as I shower, all by myself, with only my thoughts to keep me company. I step out over the tile to be greeted by…
“Mom! She stole my phone! Mom!”
The 9-year-old comes busting through the bathroom door.
“Mom! Ella took my phone and she won’t give it back,” she yells.
I barely have time to wrap the towel around my naked body before I’m face-to-face with a frowning, dagger-eyed kid.
“Can’t you see I’m in the bathroom?!” I yell back. “Don’t you know how to knock? Out! Out!”
So much for quiet.
With three chatty girls, one excitable dog and two talkative, first-born parents living under the same roof, we are like a six-piece brass band playing in a cozy venue that never takes five. We laugh and tease and banter and barter with passion and volume. There is screeching and squealing, giggling and groaning, barking and bawling. Footsteps thud across the wooden floors, doors slam in frustration and fun. And the singing – there’s lots and lots of singing. But quiet? You’ve got to be kidding.
Even though I’m plenty talkative myself, I’m actually an introvert who craves quiet and alone time. It’s how I re-energize. I usually manage a bit of solitude while all three kids are at school a few mornings a week, but the afternoons and evenings threaten to shatter my nerves. At the dinner table, everyone talks at once, admonishing at each other not to interrupt. The big girls vie for the floor, verbally elbowing each other out of the way. Lilah watches, gets all hyped up and jumps in with a sonic boom of a laugh or her trademark “That’s funny!” as though shouted through a bullhorn.
Josh and I give up and wait for them to hash it out. They tag-team each other with tales of their day or breaking out in the latest Demi Lovato song and can they download it now and can I go get my math worksheet and did you know did you know did you know? We nod, we shake our heads, but for the first 10 minutes of any family meal, the only time we open our mouths is to take a bite of food. Adult conversation is out of the question. We save that for the 12 minutes we have together once we get all the kids to bed and before we pass out ourselves.
The noise isn’t always so crazy making. Occasionally it is sweet, like when my girls practice piano as I listen from the kitchen. I follow along in my head, willing their fingers to find the right keys, silently rejoicing when they make it through a piece with confidence. The final notes hang in the air for a moment, spreading their beauty and calm.
Then there is Lilah, learning new words and songs everyday and shouting them all about the house. Yes, listening to a toddler sing “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” over and over and over again can drive you batty, but how awesome is it to hear your baby girl sing all the words to a song pretty much in tune for the very first time?
Quiet is not our forte. In fact, it’s a little awkward when it happens. Our love lives in the chaos and full-tilt crazy of loud song and shouts, howling and laughter, complaints and compliments thrown and caught across the halls.
So be it.
Quiet will have its turn one day and I’m sure that when it does I’ll miss the noisy love that for now keeps our family buzzing and spinning full speed ahead.
I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.