Monday, January 4, 2010

Silent Night

"Silence is golden." It's a phrase I've heard time and again but never really internalized or appreciated until this past Christmas. As you might imagine, silence in our home is a rarity. At any given moment there might be a dog barking, babies babbling, kids brawling, friends bantering or all of the above. The noise is so constant that it has become the backdrop of our lives.

I liken it to when I lived in a second floor apartment on Lexington Avenue -- it was above a busy intersection where trucks bounced over potholes, taxis screeched by, firetrucks and amubulances provided a symphony of sirens, garbage trucks clanked in the wee hours of the morning and buses exhaled loudly as they dropped off their passengers. For the first few weeks, it was almost impossible to sleep through the noise but then, all of a sudden, I stopped noticing it. I no longer heard the sirens that alarmed my friends as we talked on the phone or the garbage trucks that woke out of town visitors.

It's now much the same in my house. During the day, anyway. I don't hear the persistent noise or the constant din. And for the most part, it's a happy noise -- during the day, anyway. At night, it's a completely different story. Unlike the apartment at 71st and Lex, I can no longer sleep through the din... and, as we took the Lyons Family Circus on the road this Christmas and New Year's, I fear that my family and friends couldn't either!

On Christmas night, I slept in the bed I grew up in with three tots in pack & plays as my roommates. If you've ever shared a room with three stuffed-up, teething one year olds who howl when they lose their blankies, you too would have a keen new appreication for silence.

On New Year's Eve, I was fortunate to be at a good friend's house with the whole crew in tow... including Finnegan, the family dog... who was restless in his new surroundings and kept running in and out of our room, hopping on and off of our bed and, as if I needed it, alerting me to the fact that there were three screaming babies in the room next door. It started just after midnight and I admit, had me rather bitterly lamenting that there must be a better way to usher in a new year! In any case, the only thing worse than three screaming babies at midnight is, well, three screaming babies at midnight in someone else's house! In our house, it's fine -- I might even try to let them cry it out. But, at someone else's house, that would be just plain rude. So, Des and I did our best to quiet our distraught babes without disturbing the entire house. And, somewhere just before 2AM, we all settled in for what would then be a silent night.

Thanks to our holiday adventures (trust me, it is indeed an adventure to mobilize the Lyons Den for an overnight visit!), I have a newfound appreciation for that old adage "Silence is golden." While my first reaction to silence is to panic -- are the babies breathing? why are the kids sleeping so late? did we leave the dog outside?! -- I am now keenly aware of the beauty of the sound of silence. As this new year unfolds, I hope that your days are filled with many of the same happy noises that fill our home and I hope that your nights are filled with the sounds of silence.

No comments: