Knock, knock, knock. Muuuummm, mmmmuuuumm, Can I come into your room? Can I have the iPad? Will you read me a story? Where’s my onesie? Is it breakfast time yet?
I close the laptop with a sigh. It’s 6.03 am and I thought (stupidly) that at this time I would get some peace and quiet. I’ve got so much to do. My husband is away, work is piling up and don’t even talk to me about washing.
The door opens and they all pile in. Two excited children and two unruly dogs. The kids are jumping on the bed, laughing, arguing and commencing an endless stream of demands that will go on until they finally fall asleep this evening. The dogs need to go out and my work deadline is still looming.
Wishing for silence
I let the dogs out, pack the children back off to their bedroom and open the laptop again. Excited chatter drifts over the baby monitor before it is replaced by the hideous drone of Topsy and Tim. I can’t help longing for the days when I used to work in total silence.
I don’t like the television or music on in the background when I’m working. I’ve never been that person. Noise doesn’t help me to learn or concentrate, it just distracts me. And now there’s always something going on. I live in a noisy household, it’s just the way things have turned out.
I’ve taught myself to cope. I work in the living room while my husband watches television, just so I get to spend some time with him. I work while one of the children sits next to me reading or playing. I try to concentrate while they put on a dance show. I kid you not, an actual dance show, complete with makeshift stage. In my living room. How did my life come to this?
A wake-up call
I allow my mind to wander. I think about how different things might have been. That fateful day when my husband didn’t arrive home. When I saw the news on Twitter. When I thought he was dead. This could have been my life. Coping with two children alone, day in, day out. Snatching moments to work when the children were occupied or sleeping. Keeping them close because I know life is precious and painfully short.
And I thought of the future. One day, the children will be gone. They’ll phone and visit from time to time I’m sure, but they’ll have their own lives. I’ll have the silence I need to concentrate. I’ll work when I want. I’ll read, watch the television and finally find time to play the piano and violin. I’ll exercise when I want to, have a well trained dog for the first time ever because I manage to get to obedience classes. I’ll see friends, have lunch and travel when and where I want to.
And I know full well that the noise I’m trying to ignore is the best part of my life. It makes me complete, it makes me happy. It makes me who I am, and I wouldn’t be without it. I close the laptop and go into the children’s bedroom.
Work can wait. Silence can wait. One day I’ll get my silence. It will be a sad day indeed.