The sun rises and as morning starts, the sound of cups and cutlery resounds from the kitchen, water flows from the taps, stairs creak and doors slam, as the children go up and down the hallway to get ready for a new day. The house slowly awakes and a bright new beginning beckons.
I am a teaching assistant, working in a primary school which means that moments of quiet are few and far between. Voices of children are the background of my day and my full attention is constantly asked of me, usually by more than one child at a time.
With maternity leave approaching what I was most looking forward to was that moment of silence and order when the children were at school and the baby was fed and down. A moment of quiet I used to treasure in the years before I started working.
This time around, things haven’t quite worked out as I had planned…
Life is not static and new situations need to be addressed all the time whether we are ready for them or not.
With the children growing into young adults and babies joining the family the balance of the house has suddenly changed, changes I hadn’t really taken into consideration and wasn’t quite ready to embrace just yet.
As the clock would strike 9pm all the children used to be tucked up in bed, and we’d enjoy some well-earned quiet after a tiring day.
Well, no longer… The family has grown both in numbers and in age and daily life is now flowing differently.
Suddenly your older children are taller than you, you are still holding a baby in your arm and little people fill your rapidly shrinking house. Every evening the clock still striking 9pm, the younger children are tucked in bed as usual, but that quiet now remains elusive as the older children grow up and develop their own routines.
After prayers, a blessing and a goodnight kiss the younger ones happily lay down… but that silence of a household that is winding down is now a distant memory.
Now as the light in the nursery goes off… lights around the house are still on. Noises of showers, doors slam, stair creaks, one last tea for one, one last green tea for the other, seem to go on forever and that longed for quiet is never achieved. The weekends are filled with more noise, more people, more cousins, more friends… there is nowhere to hide.
They are growing up and I have to remind myself that this is their house too…
I guess I have reached yet another new stage of my life as a mother and the whole having a big family thing has just hit me… again… and being in the smallest house we’ve lived in so far with the greatest number of children can at times be very challenging. This is the life we chose, the life God has allowed us to have and we’re learning to go with it.
The children are growing up and though I am struggling with the noise, the mess and the constant encouragement to keep rooms tidy… I need to remember that even this is a stage that will pass very quickly, a stage we will look back on, in our old age when there will be silence and quiet to spare and wish we could relive it.
Noise is a bi-product of life and when it all seems too much we should remember that silence belongs to the grave.