Thursday, February 3, 2011

Q is for Quietude

Q is for Quietude

Something we know precious little about around here.

I live in the house of noise.

And this is not my natural state.  Certainly not how I was raised.

I was an only child.  A bookish only child.

I was raised in a house filled with reading, and classical music.

Bird watching, gardening, art and photography.  (A little TV, not too much, mostly PBS.)

I was a "good" girl.  No one yelled.

But it wasn't stuffy, deadened.  There was ebullient love.

Dinnertime was lively.  There was always much laughter and conversation.

But also?  Often peace, tranquility, quietude.

We could be separate and quiet and yet feel all together, the three of us in that house; my mother, my father and I.  (Well, up until the teen years, of course, which are never less than turbulent, but were not excessively so, for us.)

Pleasant memories abound: the three of us splayed about the living room sofas on a Sunday morning, pancake breakfast being digested, cats in laps, trading off sections of the Sunday papers, reading to ourselves but sharing especially wonderful bits with the others, working the Times crossword puzzle a group effort.  

But this is not how I live now.

I have a son on the autism spectrum who talks a lot, often repetitively, nearly all the time.  He also sings, screechily, and repeats noises he hears, because they delight him.

I have another son who would have a 24 hour a day conversation, if he could.

I have boys who love all things electronic and noisy; whose TV shows and computer sites and video games explode, clang, or play loud pulsing music all the time, often clashing rhythms assaulting me from two different directions, no escape except into the bathroom, and really, how long can I spend in there?

And I know that some folks with a non-verbal child would give their right arm to have one who talks all the time, like I have. (So I feel guilty for complaining.)

And I know that when the boys were 18 months old and not talking, when I wondered if I would ever hear their sweet voices, I longed for days like this, filled with their chatter.  And that when people told me this time would pass and I'd one day be wishing they'd just shut up, I looked at them like they had two heads, could not possibly picture that day.  (They may now say: "I told you so.")

And I am not hermit like, I like a full, lively house.  I regularly invite multiple kids over for group play-dates.  I wish we had a bigger apartment so we could cram in even more.

I often go out for after drop-off coffee with herds of mom friends.  We laugh so hard and carry on to the point of occasionally being shushed by old ladies wishing to caffeinate in peace.

I am a very social person.

And?  Truth?  A major league talker, myself.

But also, I do wish for occasional peace.  For Sunday mornings of quietly shared reading.  Of taking a nature hike with my family and actually serenely observing nature whilst on it.

This is not my life now, and it may never be.

I have boisterous, noisy boys.  I may have Jacob on my hands for years after other children would have left home.  (I hope not, wish for his independence, but cannot discount the possibility.)

I take my moments of quietude when I can catch them, fleeting, but still savored.

And try to remember why the sound of my boys never-quiet voices should ring sweetly in my ears.

This post has been inspired by and linked up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday writing meme. And isn't "Q" a great quirky letter with its curly-q tail?