That Particular Kind of Quiet

I’m perched on my couch, bills and to do lists splayed around me, and it occurs to me that there’s a very particular kind of quiet to a house filled with sleeping people. Have you ever noticed that? How the quality of silence in an empty house is different than when people are asleep? Why is that?

Wes and I have both noticed that. It’s weird. Before we had kids, we’d be home together and the house would feel full and happy. Now, though, if for some strange reason he and I are both home but the kids aren’t, the house feels empty. Giddy and free and happy, but still weirdly empty. Granted, the house we lived in before we had kids was about half the size of our current house, but still. Strange, no?

Maybe it’s holdover from clan/tribe/communal living (and I’m speaking here of deep genetic encoding. Wes and I have never, that we’ve known of, lived in a clan, tribe, or commune). That sense of being part of a cohesive unit that’s bereft in the absence of someone. Or maybe Wes and I have just been parents for so long that our capacity to sense mayhem is compromised by a lack of tiny people around to cause it.

Thor says, "Stop crying or I'll bash you with Mjolnir."

Thor says, “Stop crying or I’ll bash you with Mjolnir.”

I suppose that’s why Empty Nest Syndrome is a thing. In these days of sippy cups and diapers and preschool, the idea of my kids flying the coop someday is laughable. Then again, though, when I was holding my newborn son in my arms and wondering whether I’d ever sleep again, the idea of him carrying on a conversation with me and going to school was also laughable. Yet here we are.

I’m sure when that day comes and both my kids are out in the real world on their own and I’m looking around my (weirdly silent) house, I won’t be doing much laughing. Sobbing into the jammies they wore when they came home, most definitely. But probably only a very little bit of laughing.

Unless one of my kids leaves me a cardboard cut out of Thor or something. Then I’ll most certainly do some laughing.

Parenthood is so weird.

 

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