Sounds of Silence

Every day, I tuck myself into my office. From 10 to noon, I ignore the outside world and enter another. This is my protected writing time. My work in progress time. My focus on the novel time. I keep the house quiet during this time. The door is shut. The heat clicks on. A bird chirps outside. A construction vehicle beeps as it backs up down the street. I settle in for the work. The silence is mine. I shape it and fill it with words on the page.

The afternoons are not silent. There is usually music or a podcast in my ears as I edit or run an errand or work through a plot problem. There is chatter and thought and ideas clattering up against my ear drums.

Then, it is 3:30. The focus shifts.

School dismisses at 3:45. At 3:46, the school’s bus alerts start dinging on my phone. One ding at a time.

The buses arrive on campus – ding by ding.

The buses depart – ding by ding.

My children’s bus is one of the last to arrive back at school (thanks to bus sharing between schools) and so I wait and wait for the bus three ding. My ding. The ding that means I should head for the bus stop.

And while I wait, I finish whatever task I’m working on. I click off the music, pause the podcast, turn away from the book’s voices. The house settles and is suddenly quiet again in a way it isn’t the rest of the day. The heat clicks on again. I hear car doors slam at my neighbors houses as older kids return home. Someone laughs or hollers at another kid across the street. I hear the trash cans being dragged up a driveway.

This silence is no longer the same as the writing silence. This silence is the quiet pull back of the tide before it returns the quiet water in a rush and crash of a wave.

I suddenly long for my boys, crave them, can’t wait to see their bodies and minds return to me to tell me about their day. The attention they grant me is fleeting. Sometimes only as long as it takes for us to walk back from the bus stop or for me to help get them a snack. I remind them to put their bags and lunch boxes away. They pull out their homework. They disappear to play.

But their breath, their laughter, their stomping feet, the rustle of their turning pages, their whirring brains fill my silence and I wrap it around me like a blanket. My mother silence is anything but quiet, and yet it stills my soul and calms my anxieties.

It is 3:34 and the house is too quiet again.

I wait. For the boys to fill the silence.

I crave it. Like a drug.

I wait.


Motherhood: You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up

Tomorrow is the annual Kindergarten Character Parade at my son’s school. T went as James from James and the Giant Peach when he was a wee one. B decided to go as a crayon from The Day the Crayons Quit (because we LOVE it and The Day the Crayons Came Home!). 

Imagine my delight that my child picked a character for which I already have a costume. T was a red crayon for Halloween many moons ago and I knew I had seen the costume, touched it with my own two hands, sometime in the last six months. Easy peasy. Done. No fuss, no muss, no money.

I proceeded to check the closets. The dress-up drawer. The craft cabinet. No dice. I waited. I checked the attic (read, the hubby checked the attic). The closet again. The bags in the closet. The coat closet. The dress-up drawer again. The linen cabinet. The bench at the end of my bed under the extra blanket. Nothing. I checked everything one more time even though I had checked it all before.

Nada. No crayons.

So, I retrieved the random navy blue pillow case I found from a set of sheets we no longer have and felt that this was miracle enough. An extra pillow case. I’ll just make another. And so I went to the craft store and found felt the perfect color blue to match and black fabric paint for the pillow case. I painted on the logo and the stripes. I let it dry. I turned it over this afternoon and painted the stripe on the back side.

While it dried, I decided to tackle the hat. I’d need something to put the felt on. Perhaps we had an extra birthday hat in the craft cabinet. The craft cabinet is a little bit of a mess. I took out a few things I knew I wanted to add to my current donation pile. I checked between the extra paper, behind the rocket building set box, with the collection of gift bags. No birthday hats. No worries, I have to run to the grocery later today anyway, I can pick one up or grab some poster board. But before I go, I should really see if I have any elastic or ribbon to keep the hat on. I decided to rummage around in the bin with the paints since a few other random bits tend to find their way there. And there, under an extra Christmas shirt box and a giant birthday bow was…

(Oh yeah. You guessed it. Even though I already checked this cabinet and swear I nosed around in that very same paint bin)

…the damned red crayon costume.

The paint isn’t even dry on the blue one I just finished.

If I had wine in the house (which I don’t because it’s on the stupid grocery list), I’d be pouring myself one right now, decorum and good sense be damned.