It’s 6AM and I’ve been awake since 4. Ike (Tropical Storm Ike, that is) has been blustering around the house all night, licking us with hot, sticky tropical winds. It’s 6AM and almost 80 degrees outside… in Vermont… in September! It’ll probably snow next week.
Once in a while I don’t mind not being able to sleep – getting up in the dark and having complete silence and motionless-ness for a few hours is intoxicating. I think that’s the most difficult part of motherhood for me – the constant motion, constant noise. I’m an introvert, I don’t particularly like to talk (unless I’m in a comfortable social situation or feeling overly emotional, then I don’t shut up).
When Little Lady was a baby, and my mother or sister was visiting or babysitting, I was struck by how they would talk and interact with the baby continually. When I was home with her there was almost complete silence. Of course, I talked to her but wouldn’t offer a running commentary. I’d get so tired if I had to engage my brain and move my mouth that much.
I used to worry that I was doing our child a disservice by not reciting the alphabet or giving her a blow-by-blow of what mummy was doing every second. When we began to socialize at a mommy-n-me group, I’d feel ashamed when the toddler on the next mat could count to ten in English and German when my little one could barely count to three in any language. But she was dancing with abandon at music time or sitting quietly at still time. And, I think, more importantly, she knew (and knows) how to entertain herself.
Today, I look back on those quiet hours with my baby with longing. From the moment the kids lift their sleepy heads to when they finally give in to the drug of sweet slumber, there is a racket – either from their games, their music (which is still danced to with abandon by both), or from PBS or Disney. Now, I am forced to use my voice interminably: Stop that, food’s ready, don’t fold your brother in two… or just to answer the never-ending flow of demands for “Mama, Mama, MAMA!”
I’m tired. Very, very tired. Listening takes almost as much energy as talking. I crave silence more than a manicure, more even than Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz (and that’s saying something).
It’s my birthday on Friday and all I want is a big box of silence, wrapped up in a bow.
So, thank you, Ike. Although you did some harm down in Texas, and I admonish you for that, I do appreciate the gift you gave me this morning: Two hours of… nothing.
Unfortunately, it’s a gift I will have to pay for with lots of coffee (or maybe some coffee ice cream?).
Start your engines… hear the roar… the madness of a school morning is about to begin.