For the past few years I have been craving peace and quiet. I know it‘s surprising that a mother of 5 boys would wish for a little relaxing quiet, but I do. What can I say? I‘m strange that way. It seems that in our family of boys, there is a constant barrage of noise. If the boys aren‘t talking to each other, they are talking to their father or me. If they aren‘t talking, they are singing some silly little tune, or possibly humming the theme song to something really important, like Star Wars. If they aren‘t speaking or making music, they are simply making noises. They can imitate rockets, lasers, bombs and just about any type of vehicle known to man. This is not uncommon for boys...it is actually the norm. And, sadly, my sons are extremely normal.
I have long strived for silence in my home.. if only for a few minutes, only to be disappointed time and time again. I can‘t count the number of times I have been sitting at the dinner table with my children struggling to follow the 3 conversations that are simultaneously going on. I have threatened bodily injury if the boys don‘t stop interrupting me in order to quote nonsense, change the conversation, or just make irritating noises. Over the years, I have become an expert in extending time outs for the boys because they simply cannot sit in a quiet chair without making noise or asking if it‘s time for them to get out yet. My days are filled with the sounds of rambling monologues, bickering dialogues and numerous bodily function noises. I just want a little peace and quiet.
Last night, my goal was finally achieved. We have been working our way west through Texas and we stopped at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This beautiful mountain and it‘s range, are right in the middle of the desert. The silence was amazing. No tourist shops, no highways close by, no towns within miles. In short, it‘s pretty isolated. Walking through the trails and climbing the smaller foothills was simply beautiful. I never really thought the desert could be so pretty. But the best part of staying here was yet to come.
There were rules in this park. Quiet between 8 pm and 8 am. This was going to be good, I could feel it! We finished our hikes, had dinner, cleaned up and got ready for bed. The youngest boys were in bed by 8 pm, and the quiet began to descend. Then, shortly thereafter we told the older boys they needed to spend some time reading in their beds before going to sleep. It was now 9 pm and the quiet was almost complete. Finally, about 9:30 pm both my husband and I realized that all our children were in bed asleep, and the quiet was absolute. No noisy children, no loud neighbors, no sounds of cars passing on the street, no motors, no people, no nothing. It was real, unbroken quiet!
Oh, just to be able to think quietly! It was like a little slice of heaven. The animals on the mountain even seemed to be striving for complete silence. I could read without distraction, write without constant interruption and sleep with the peace of a quiet world. It was wonderful…or at least it should have been. So why is it that I was distracted by too much quiet? Why did my mind keep straying from the book that I was reading because I was listening for…anything? Why was it that I couldn’t sleep a wink? All I could do was lie in bed and listen to the slow rhythmic breathing of my sons as they slept and try to keep myself from trying to copy their rhythm with my own breathing.
‘Tis sad that I, the women who craved peace and quiet, would suddenly find myself in the midst of the quietest night known to man, and wishing that I had something noisy to listen to. I’m pretty sure it is all my sons’ faults. They have gotten me so used to noise and chaos, that I will probably never again be able to truly enjoy quiet. (Sigh) So tonight, as we prepare for bed in the next RV park, I will pray for a barking dog, passing motorist or noisy neighbor so that I can sleep, and I will continue to blame my children for having destroyed my ability to rest in peace.