The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence April 12, 2006

I realized today that silence has a sound. I never knew this fact before, of course, because I’ve rarely had occasion to hear it, especially since becoming a parent March 23, 1994.

This is how my life sounds now.

My day begins with the alarm clock ringing at 5:45 a.m. I am a very happy morning person so I usually bound out of bed, sometimes even humming. By the time I turn the shower off the coffee maker is brewing and around that time I usually hear the footsteps of my children, who get up every morning to spend some time with me before I have to leave for work.

Every morning once I get down the stairs it begins . . . as I try desperately to get some coffee in me (fast) I entertain their sleepy musings about the day ahead; frantic, sudden reminders of a permission slip, homework assignment or class party forgotten the night before; spirited debates about the school lunch choice of the day; grumbled protests when they’re reminded to make their beds.

But this morning it was different. My family has been gone, on a road trip to the cousins’ for Spring Break, which happens to fall this week, the biggest workweek of my entire year (no road trip for me, I’m afraid).

So this morning I got up . . . to silence.

And it was so loud I could barely stand it.

It’s hard to describe, this silence. It’s sort of echo-y and empty, illustrated by the trail of dust motes dancing peacefully in the morning sunshine (no one running around to stir them up) and the careless disarray of little lives packed up in excitement (funny, those strewn backpacks normally make me irate. Today they made me a little wistful).

This is what I’ve been longing for almost every day since, well since about March 23, 1994, that is, every day that I can’t seem to even hear myself think with all the chatter in my life.

But today the silence is so loud that my deepest wish is just to hear one little voice say, “Good morning, Mommy” because I know with that sound I’d finally get relief from the roar of the silence.

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