Last week my kids spent three nights at my parents’ house for spring break and the silence they left behind was disorienting. Our house echoed without the usual songs about giraffes (no other way to sing about giraffes than FORTISSIMO), two-year old proclamations of toy ownership, and surprisingly dead-on impersonations of lightsaber battles to the death.
On our child-free evenings, Keith and I discovered a whole new world of sounds. Who knew our refrigerator hums? I could actually hear the dishwasher running. Apparently, my dog snores and the dryer has an end-of-cycle buzzer. We kept asking each other, “What was that?” like household sound scavenger hunters. I felt like that Passamaquaddy-guy on Pete’s Dragon, “I hear birds chirping ….”
My phone calls to my mom to check on the kids went something like this:
“Turn down the TV, Mom, I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.”
“The TV isn’t on. Those sounds are your children.”
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
I’m not sure how my parents do it. It’s not like there’s a gradual increase in volume so they can adjust to the change. IT’S INSTANTANEOUSLY EAR-PIERCING. When the sound was overwhelming they had their own methods of coping: My dad turned down the volume on his hearing aids and my mom called me to remind me to come get the kids on Saturday.
I am extremely grateful for my parents’ ability to enjoy the kids and do grandparently things in the midst of all the pandemonium … hullabaloo … boisterousness. Granted, I did receive texts from my dad that said things like:
“Lunch and playground today. Don’t worry Molly’s forehead is just fine.”
I’m sure I should have called to ask about the forehead. But I was too busy telling Keith that I could hear my phone’s text chime from the back of the house.