Being a mother of four children, the idea of a “quiet day” is near impossible. Unless I’m on a secluded beach, sipping a cool drink in very hot weather the quiet is definitely not close by. Whether they’re happy noises or not, quiet just isn’t a noise my children know how to make. So in my mind when I think of a quiet day I think of the suckling noise that Charlie makes as she drowns in formula-induced happiness. The obnoxious hum of Duncan tinkering on the iPod with his little sister snuggled up next to him, nursing her equally obnoxious thumb in the process. That was today – key word, was. That’s quiet to me. The times where I have to force myself to sit down, to just hold still and try to enjoy the moment.
It’s not that I don’t want to enjoy these moments with my children; it’s just that when they do happen, it’s so tempting to sneak away. To hurriedly tip-toe-skip (I’m sure it’s a sight to see!) up the stairs and seek haven organizing something quietly in a room or closet. It’s just too easy to bribe the 8-year-old to hold the bottle for her sister while I cycle the laundry and start the dishwasher. But when I do finally make myself sit down and endure the 15 minutes it can take my 5-month old to nurse her bottle empty – I find that this is the quiet. Not the silence that follows once she finishes and falls asleep. Not the absence of fighting between my older two, or the snores from my lumberjack 3-year-old – the act of getting there. The journey to what most people consider the quiet times. That’s my quiet.
Throughout my day my head is constantly making lists. Lists of things to do. Lists of things to remember. Lists of people to call. Lists of things I’ve already done, remembered, and called. I’m constantly not in a quiet place in my head, there’s always more to do, more to accomplish… you get the picture. But as you might guess, you can’t successfully lull a baby to sleep while trying to scrub the fingerprints off of the stainless steel refrigerator or chip the jelly off the counter (so lovingly left there by your desperately independent son). So when I have to sit down and take the time for these moments, the quiet comes.
So today, I sat. She ate. And this was where my quiet ended:
And despite the chaos of the scrubbing, folding, hanging, linen-stripping, floor-mopping minutes ahead, I can’t help but take a bit of her quiet with me.