05 May 2009

The quiet time

I adore silence. I like to ease into my day slowly, and if it were up to me, no one would speak to me for an hour or so.

I enjoy gabbing, but I could go hours without speaking and be utterly happy. When I went on retreat during my first yoga teacher training, we would have silent mornings, where we did not speak from the time we woke until after breakfast, when the day's lessons began. This made some people uncomfortable, but oh, the joy it brought me!

I didn't know this about myself until I had children. My, how they talk your ear off! And while so much of what they say is adorable, and fascinating, at a certain point in the evening, I JUST WANT IT TO STOP. I try to wake 30 minutes before my children, to have a cup of coffee, and soak in the silence. I listen to less music than I thought I ever would at this point in my life, not because don't enjoy it, but because given life in a household of five, the opportunity for complete silence is rare and beautiful.

Tonight, as I was cleaning up dinner my son was flummoxing me by trying to make me solve relatively simple multiplication problems in my head. Maths have never been my strong suit, and all the calculation was making my brain ache. But when Gabriel gets tired, his chatting switch flips quickly. When he's in that woozy zone between wakefulness and sleep, he will turn to me and say, "Can we not talk anymore?" That's my boy!

My daughter, on the other hand, can talk a blue streak. And I mean indigo, moving into violet. Tonight, she regaled me with the plot of an episode of the Simpsons she'd been watching, in TREMENDOUS detail. Sarah is old enough to now to understand that as the day winds down, I simply run out of wind for conversation. She can sense this, and sometimes will ask me, mid-stream of consciousness, "Is this time when you can't speak anymore?" But she can't quite help herself, because even as I nod yes, she resumes her story. She's learning.

Because she knew I didn't want to talk anymore, tonight she left me with an assignment; in the morning she wants me to explain the difference between furthermore and fluidity.

Right now the roomba just finished cleaning the dining room rug, and my son is snoring sweetly next to me (sometimes he passes out on the couch during reading time).

Aside from that 30 minutes alone in the morning, the time I look forward to most is when the children are all asleep, and I can sit on the couch with my feet on David's lap reading in companionable silence. Then at some point, we will look at each other, gesture toward the stairs, gather our books and move to the bedroom, hopefully, without saying a word.

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