Loud and Clear

Friday, January 20, 2012

Earlier this week, sometime between screaming, yelling and crying, (my toddler, not me, thankfully - okay, maybe a little me...) it occurred to me how sacred quiet has become since having children. Not only is it hard to come by, but it is almost creepy when it finally finds you. The early morning hours (so early it is really basically nighttime) when I'm nursing the baby, the oh-so-rare nap that syncs up perfectly between the two girls, thewitching hour right after Matilda is in bed and sometimes Daphne drifts off to give me just enough time to listen to the sweet sound of wine landing into my goblet, and sometimes (if the planets are perfectly aligned) an extra long shower where you drown out any sounds that might possibly be going on outside and can actually take a second to just. be. quiet. Yes, these are precious moments and I know that I am thankful for them and every mother is. But. That's not what I am thankful for this Thankful Friday.

Nope. You see, as it occurred to me that I was ever so grateful for those times of absolute silence...the thought crossed my mind at how easy it was to be thankful for. Yup. Easy peasy. Gee- thanks, God, for giving me some respite in the day amidst the chaos. Yeah, that's a no brainer. So, instead, I challenged myself for the week...to be thankful for the noise. You know, THE NOISE!?!?

The baby is screaming. She has no reason. She's changed. She's fed. She was beaming sunshine and rainbows not ten seconds ago and now, all of a sudden, as if a car backfired right in front of her, she is screaming at the top of her lungs for you to do something, anything to please figure out what it is to make her happy once again.

The toddler is yelling at you. Incessantly. Your name. Your name. Your name. WHAT? She barks out orders like a Russian dictator in a language only she can understand, and you ask her again to please repeat quietly her dire need. This sets off an eruption of already-fragile-emotion that leads her to throw herself on the floor, hitting her head in the process, and forcing you to transform your frustration and channel it into genuine compassion for your completely unreasonable child. You take a deep breath as you pick both yourselves up off the floor, only to have her giggle and wriggle out from under you, taking off running like a cheetah on the hunt. Two seconds later, you find her in the middle of the kitchen floor with all your pots and pans out on the ground ready to become her new drum-kit - and your new nightmare.

Then, there's my favorite...the gang up. Sure, they are only a baby and a two-year-old. But, don't let those little heads fool you. Behind those Disney-like doe eyes are two little brains conspiring to constantly remind us who is actually in control. The gang up in the car is the worst: You're trapped. You promise them you are merely blocks away from home. You can almost see it, even. It doesn't matter. The iPhone is dead. The book fell to the floor. The last goldfish cracker was swallowed six blocks back. The sun is in the baby's eyes. There is no more entertainment to be had - you've even caved and put on freaking Veggie Tales in the cd player which was clearly only in the car for emergencies only. But, it's too late. MELTDOWN has begun and the volume is rising. First whimpering. Then whining. Then the baby starts to cry. Then the toddler is screaming because she's worried about the baby. Then the baby is upset because of the crying. Now you are yelling at both of them and you can't even hear the firetruck that you now see in your rearview - and when you do see it, all you can think is "great - now I have to pull over and wait for you = more time with these insane screaming babies = I am officially going to lose it". Yes, we're all thinking all this at the same time as we begin to pledge out loud that if God will just put them both into a deep sleep coma for their afternoon naps you promise to never leave the house again.

Yes. These are the times it is hard to be thankful for. (Deep breath here). Whew. But, I must. If I don't, I become slave to the rare times...to the longing for the moments that pass so quickly...and in the meantime, what? I'm just killing time with these two, loud little monsters who are eating up my quiet free time? No. I want to find the little gems, the little spots of gratefulness when things get LOUD...when my entire brain is drowning in the sound of it all - I want to be able to pick out the tiniest of pleasures - if only to help me survive them a little be better (and longer).

First of all, this tiny little human needs me. Me! And, really (truly) what better thing do I have going on than to be needed by my child? Nothing. Never. Honestly, there are moments when it feels like the my children are just interruptions and obstacles in my otherwise perfectly planned day of housekeeping goals and food preparations. There are other days that are full of laughter and snuggling, of course...but, most days fall somewhere in between. A few chores get done, a few more get undone, and if we all make it out alive with something edible on the table for supper - well, the day's been a total success.

Secondly, this too shall pass. Sometimes I hear this in my head and think "Praise God!" and other times I bite my lip and hold back tears at the thought of them growing up - right now - right this second before my eyes! Blink. There they are, older. Blink blink. Older again. Good golly. These are moments, people. They are messy and loud and commonly obnoxious - and fleeting. I don't want to look back with rose colored glasses and think "Oh, remember the days, how they were so sweet and wonderful back when the girls were little?" no, I want those rose colored glasses NOW! Not that I don't want to be realistic - instead, I want to look this hot mess in the face and embrace it with both arms!

Squawks of need. Yells of joy/anger/rage/excitement - or whatever emotion is running through Matilda at the time. Cries of begging and chirps of want. And toys toys toys toys. Whistles, drums, and all those stupid light up toys that bleep and blap and "teach" your child nothing beyond the fact that this toy contains two levels of volume control: Loud and Louder. These are the sounds that make up the symphony of our home. Our super loud crazy ridiculous home. Thank you, God. Thank you that these sounds of growing pains are present and alive and well. Someday they will be replaced - by adolescent sibling fights...by teenagers texting (or whatever their doing by that time)...by a whole host of who knows what, happy/sad/angry and so on that will become the new soundtrack of our daily life. Thank you that these girls are expressive right now (to say the least) and that you've entrusted them to me for this wildly unpredictable time. Thank you for the noise. The reminder was just what I needed. Loud and clear.

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