In the early days of my marriage, I couldn’t write unless it was quiet. Even noises drifting in from outside bothered me. Fortunately, our neighborhood is pretty quiet, so I managed to get some pages written. Less than two years later, our first daughter was born, and less than two years after that, our second daughter joined our family.
Our house has not been quiet for a long time, but I’m writing more than ever. Things have changed. Now, my husband sometimes takes the girls out to do something fun while I write. He sends me a text message asking how it’s going. Often, my reply is “I’m barely getting started. The house is too quiet.”
Who would have guessed?
The very thing that distracted me from writing back then is what I thrive on now—noise, activity, life. I dread the “empty nest” because I know I will have to make the transition yet again, from writing in a home bustling with laughter, chatter, and fun to finding my way in the silence. Isn’t it funny how things change?
I dread the effect that the kids’ growing up and moving out will have on my writing, but there are other things that will be affected too:
- I won’t have as much laundry or dishes to wash.
- I won’t have to buy and prepare as much food.
- My home will stay cleaner, longer.
- Small pairs of shoes won’t litter the walkways.
- There won’t be wet, dripping wash cloths left in the shower.
- Dirty clothes won’t cover the bathroom floor.
- I won’t have as many messes to clean up.
But when those are gone, my home will also be missing:
- Giggles and laughter.
- Small arms wrapping around my neck.
- Sloppy kisses.
- Intricate drawings and play dough sculptures.
- Childish voices singing praise music as loudly as possible.
- Girls choreographing dances in my living room.
- A girl curled up, reading a book with her cat sleeping next to her.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that to eliminate the things that irritate me, I have to get rid of even more that brings me great joy.
I think I’ll learn a lesson from my writing time and quit being so hasty to wish away the days I have left with my children. They’ll be gone all too soon.