The silence of the first day of school is a strange and wonderful thing. What mom doesn’t take a moment to breathe deep and relish the solitude that signals school is back in session?
But that moment is inevitably followed by a nostalgia for the chaos of summer and the voices and memories of the last few months together. So as kids across the nation head back to school in the next two weeks, I wanted to share something I wrote recently about all the crazy, maddening, incredible noise of motherhood. And while I’ll thoroughly enjoy a few hours a day of quiet, I sure will look forward to 3 p.m. when all that noisy life comes barreling back through the door.
Make Some Noise!
Mother sits with a babe nestled close on her lap
As the little one squeals when she learns how to clap.
“Oh hooray,” whispers mother. “That’s it little dear,
You are making some noise that your Mommy can hear.”
As the precious one grows, she discovers more sound.
A new ruckus each day as more noises abound,
Like a pot as it clangs when it slams on a pan.
Baby maestro now makes all the clamor she can.
The house echoes with whistles as train engines chime,
While “The Wheels on the Bus” fills the air one more time.
A caped toddler is bouncing with thuds everywhere,
And a bowl full of milk clatters down from a chair.
Phones ring as kids sing and play lots of loud toys
As young mother sighs, “I can’t take all this noise!”
The kids grow through the years, right along with the sound
With some teenagers suddenly hanging around,
Rowdy boys start to shout – what a stir they create!
And that boombox is blaring so loud and so late.
Muddy soccer cleats clack as they trudge through the hall
As a hairdryer whirs to prepare for the mall.
Off-key melodies drone from a squeaky trombone
While a piercing note sings from a cellular phone.
Girls giggle at night as they talk about boys
As mother exclaims, “I can’t stand all this noise!”
But the kids are soon grown, and they all leave the nest,
Leaving mother to relish her overdue rest.
All alone, mother sits by herself in the peace
As the noises of decades now finally cease.
There’s no crying or screaming, no slamming screen door.
No more music or voices resound anymore.
Every pot and each pan stands up straight in its place,
And the dog just lies silent with no one to chase.
No clatter, no chatter, no bouncing green ball,
There’s nothing but quiet — just nothing at all.
No more whispers or knocks late at night on her door,
No more pit pat as baby’s first steps hit the floor.
There’s no jumbled first word to make everyone laugh,
And no pillow time chat or wet splash in the bath.
Rooms sit empty at night, there’s no hum in the air,
No dear voices to hear in each eventide prayer.
There’s no “Mommy, I love you,” to close a long day,
As if silence has chased all those memories away.
The old mother’s eyes start to swell up with tears —
She’s found all the quiet she sought through the years.
But a chime in the hallway soon shatters the hush,
Through the door six young grandkids all stream in a rush.
Every bright little face runs to grandma’s embrace
As the silence now flees without even a trace.
In a flash, dear old mother exclaims with a grin,
“I’ve got drum sets and whistles to stir up a din,
Red kazoos you can blow, a maraca to shake
Add a xylophone, cymbals — what music we’ll make!
I have dollies that cry and some monsters that roar,
Chugging choo-choo trains, buzzing games, rattles galore.
There goes jack as he pops from his box once again.
Spinning top? Say the word, I have got at least ten.
So quickly get out all these raucous old toys,
Don’t wait any longer — let’s all make some noise!”