My kids like to make noise. They like instruments, music, and they really seem to like their own voices. They love noise.
Apart from when they don’t. When noises are too loud, or unexpected, or the wrong kind, they are too much, way too much for my kids. In our house we can’t do fireworks and fire alarms, blenders and barking dogs, hand dryers and helicopters.
Pudding has been ill lately, and that means her tolerance threshold is at an all time low. The more you tune in to noise, the more you realize how relentless it is. How I would love to mute the world for her!
And for me.
Noise doesn’t bother me in the same way. Not physically. I can stand it, even if I don’t like it. Which is handy, because…well, read that first sentence again.
But I do love quiet.
Such a rare commodity, it is even more valuable to me these days. Lately there has been no quiet for me. With a very hectic workload and a busy home life, there isn’t so much a rhythm as a drumming. Demands thudding on my brain all day long so that even when I get enough sleep I’m not refreshed.
Then the next day will be even louder. A dissonant racket that grows and grows. I can’t write, because I can’t turn my brain down to hear what I’m thinking. At times in the last month or so, I needed that mute button for myself just as much as Pudding.
And then, today, it came. Silence. I finished work early and then stopped thinking about it. I didn’t check my Blackberry. I was at home. Alone. It was silent. It took me some time to realize that. I was so used to the noise, I’d forgotten what silence sounded like.
Because we live in Johannesburg, before long I heard sirens and helicopters and I let the noise disturb me. Then it died down again once more, and I could feel the silence once again. This time I appreciated it. I held on to the silence, and let the mental noise go away.
It was a gift. One I rarely had when the kids were younger, and one that seems just as elusive now. But I think now I realize that I can turn some of the noise down myself, if I just allow myself to enjoy the peace instead of making myself tackle another problem, make another plan, or frustrate myself with busyness.
The best thing though about getting a moment of tranquility? It makes everyday noises sound so much sweeter.