Wednesday, August 12
This time last week I was enjoying the British Museum in London... or maybe we had moved on to the Tate Modern by now. I had no thoughts of what I would be doing in a week. I didn't daydream about curriculum. I didn't have to think about how to incorporate nap time into the structure of the day. I ate when I was hungry. I didn't pick up toys off the floor. I appreciated things that were interesting to me and not just entertaining to my kids.
By the end of our 8 days in Great Britain I was ready to see my kids again. But I knew that because I'd had a completely separate, relaxing, cultural experience that I might feel uneasy in my mom shoes again. Uneasy isn't quite the word.
Once arriving home I was amazed at how many times a day they say my name. Amazed at how they choose to live at odds with one another. Amazed at how they ignore the beauty of life with a huff because some detail doesn't seem fair to them. The daily squawks and words of displeasure and crying fits were a bit of a shock to my system.
It took me a couple days to get back into the swing of this: Every beck and call for something to drink, jumping up to find out what the big thump was, bringing the ketchup and the syrup and the spoon and the napkin to the table in four separate trips, answering, "What?" to the 122nd call of "Mom!"
It's no wonder to me (now) that London, in fact, seemed so silent. I think this is because none of its sound was pointed at me. No one was wanting or needing my attention. In fact the only two sounds I really remember were the sound of bagpipes playing as we walked out of the train station in Edinburgh, and the incessant "mind the gap" in the Tube stations (picking up on repetition is natural for a mom's ears). Funny that I don't specifically remember hearing anything else. It was a feast for my eyes, my skin, my mouth. But my ears found the inner solitude they are always seeking.
I'm not sure what that says about me. Maybe it's just my introverted, melancholy essence coming out. But what I think I need to learn from it is to listen well to my children when they are happy and satisfied and playing well and asking good questions -- because they do all these things too. I just let the unlovely sounds drown them out in my heart. And therein I, too, miss the beauty of life.