The Sound of Silence

‘Knock, knock.’

“Mom, Nick. Are you guys awake?”

Blurry eyed, I stumble down to the kitchen pulling my ratty house sweater on and I greet each of my overly awake children with a mumbled ‘Good morning.’

I make coffee through sleep infested eyes, then wander the house looking for my slippers. Found, I make my way to the garage to let the pup out to potty.

It’s colder than I thought and I stand shivering on the front porch while the pup takes her dear sweet time sniffing the skiff of snow that fell overnight.

I wander back inside and hear the cacophony of sound that is our home when the children are with us. I holler, “Who hasn’t had breakfast?”

There’s a clamoring of voices.

“I did!”

“Me too!”

“She didn’t!”

“Yes, I did!”

And so on and so forth until the stragglers come down to the kitchen and eat breakfast. My fuzzy-headed husband joins me at the breakfast table where we drink coffee through bleary eyes and answer inquiries such as, “Look at my picture. What do you think?”

And “Alex won’t let me play with the Halo dudes.”

And “Hey mom, can I do laundry?”

Then it’s a morning of organizing humans, doing last-minute laundry and packing. Because they are leaving us today.

There’s a solemness that falls over my husband and I as we prepare our children to leave us. As chaotic as it is to have a house packed full of humans and animals, it’s hard when they leave.

We finish off the morning with a few cleaning requests, more last-minute laundry, and packing checks. The children scurry off to go play or create more artwork or read and we settle in, all of us counting down until it’s time, though for very different reasons.

Lunch comes and goes. Laundry isn’t quite done. And suddenly it’s time. Children rush into the den, quickly hugging us and saying their goodbye’s. My squirrel, of course, is the last one out the door and I’ll have to send her clothes over later because they are still wet.

More hugs. Happy faces bouncing out the door.

And…quiet. Five kids are gone, two to go.

I bustle about, not able to sit still. There are a few things to be done, but the silence has already begun to settle in. We watch some cartoons. I fold laundry and then it’s time.

We bundle the children up and make the drive to drop them off with their mother. When Nick gets back in the car, we both sigh. Silence.

But it’s not until we get home that it really settles in. Gone is the noise and laughter. Gone are the fights and the calls for toilet paper. Gone are the gaggle of girls sitting at our table singing to the radio and giggling while creating masterpieces. Gone are the boys playing dinosaurs and our youngest’s contagious laughter.

The sound of silence is deafening.

So we snuggle each other and order some pizza. It’s not the same, but it’ll do.

And now we are counting down. Counting down until the silence disappears with the return of our children.

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