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SkyMoms > Parenting Tips

When Silence Makes Us Long For Noise

I remember it with picture-perfect detail. It was almost 13 years ago at 3:30 in the afternoon.
I can see myself standing bare feet in our kitchen, hair amuck, pajamas still on. One hand resting on the bar, the other on my hip as I stared at the clock. I knew it was coming. The time when our newborn baby would lose her mind. It was right around the corner.
It was predictable in the sense that it happened at the same time every day. But it was also unpredictable. I never knew how it would unfold. I just knew it would be hard, uncontrollable, and loud. I also knew it would last for hours.
I remember the pit in my stomach as I wondered, “Can I do this again today?” I also remember wishing the season would pass.
With kids ages 6, 9, and 12, that kind of evening chaos has, indeed, passed. But it’s been replaced with a new kind. The kind that involves 10 hours of activity compressed into 5 hours. It involves homework and extra-curricular events and picky eaters and sibling conflict and the social dilemmas of a pre-teen and so many to-dos on the list, we can’t possibly get to them all. Some days are better than others, but it’s still hard, I still can’t control it, and it’s almost always loud.
In my “older” age, I’m discovering the noise bothers me the most.
It hurts my ears and musters up outrageous feelings of frustration in my gut. Like when I was a kid learning to dress myself and my feet would get stuck inside my pants because I didn’t take off my shoes. Or when I’d pull my shirt over my head and my hands would get stuck in my sleeves because I didn’t unbutton them.
I. Just. Wanted. Out. Of. That. Situation.
Sometimes I lock myself in our bedroom. Honestly, I do. I just need a minute of silence every so often.
But this week, we have the house to ourselves. The two older kids are at Sky Ranch, and Little Bit is on a trip with his grandparents. Silence we have, 24/7.
We’re making the most of it. Dates with friends. Meals fit for royalty. Sleeping in longer than usual. Coffee on the porch. A few projects around the house. All the while, we’re both still doing our jobs and taking care of our responsibilities. It’s amazing what we can get done when we aren’t caring for our kids! 
I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t glorious. I’m enjoying every minute of it, and I hope those of you with kids going to camp this summer will enjoy it as well. You need this time as much as they do.
But this morning, as I nestled into our sofa for some time with the Lord, He showed me a glimpse of the future.
Twelve summers from now, Little Bit will be off to college, and silence, 24/7, will be our new normal.
The thought was like a punch in the gut. I didn’t like it, a lot more than I dislike the noise.
I know the Lord will walk us through the empty-nesting years just as He has walked us through every other season. But I’m not ready for it. And the realization that it’s coming rather quickly was just what I needed to gear up for the noise that awaits me on Saturday.
So mamas in the trenches with me, lean in. I want to tell you something. And know that I tread lightly because I don’t always receive these sentiments well when spoken to me by moms who are living on the  empty-nester side of things. But they’re right.
The trenches are hard. And out of control. And very loud.
There are days when putting on real clothes and brushing our teeth are luxuries. And there are nights when we wonder if we’ll make it to bedtime.
But the trenches are also filled with immeasurable joy.
The kind that comes with laughter and a lot of questions and the word “Mommy” uttered exactly 1,000 times per day. The kind that comes with Disney Junior and bouncing balls in the house and doors that open and slam. The kind that comes with singing in the bathroom and noisy toys and sound effects resulting from imaginative play. And even the kind that comes in the midst of conflict. Because it is in these circumstances where we have the privilege of teaching our children about grace, and forgiveness, and what it means to walk with God.       
I know that you long for a respite. But our days in the trenches are numbered, and the quiet house we once wished for will be a dream come true. Let’s rest on that assurance. Not so that we might wish this season to pass, but so that we might embrace the season we’re in.