When Silence Enters


Just down the hall in our small home, my daughters are drifting off to sleep. It’s the same most evenings. We put the toddler to bed, followed shortly by the 7-year old. Some nights it takes longer for them to settle, but most of the time, quiet follows me up the hall until I sit in the living room in silence. The house breathes a sigh of relief. We made it through another day in the noise, this parenting of young children. Never a pause in sound. Until this hour, when silence enters in.

The gentle tick-tock of my grandmother’s cuckoo clock lowers my heart rate and brings me into rhythm with the countless other women who are just now taking a breath for the first time in the day. Tick-tock, tick-tock. I am reminded of generations before me, my mother, my grandmothers. Did they crave quiet, like me, waiting for their hour each evening? Or were their days less busy, less loud? I am left to wonder how they spent their evenings. Beside their husbands, enjoying drinks together. Reading, sewing, or watching tv. Reviewing the events of the day, the children’s successes and adventures.

Did they lament mistakes they made themselves, where they failed as mothers, as I do? Wishing I could change my reaction, my tone, my quick temper, I am left to worry and feel guilty for my shortcomings.

When the silence falls around me, my mind doesn’t benefit from the quiet. Sometimes I long for the din of the day to fill my thoughts and my ears, blocking out any room for misgivings. But tonight, this night, I breathe my own sigh of relief. I look back on a day filled with love, laughter, and patience for one another, a successful day. And that old German clocks lulls me to peace with tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock …

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