Every Monday my Facebook news feed reads like a Greek tragedy of lamentation. Oh! The swift passage of the weekend! Loathsome and heavy-footed we drag ourselves back to the grind. Oh, Mondays–you are forever blue.
But I do not rue the (Mon)day. I have come to love Mondays.
I will admit that it is with a certain amount of ill-concealed glee that I kick my family out of the house on Monday mornings. Have a great day at school! Have a great day at work! I’ll see you at pick-up/dinner! Hug and a kiss and the door slams shut and…..
Silence. Beautiful no whining, whinging, calling my name, where’s this, where’s that, I can’t find my keys, I’m hungry quiet.
Recently my husband mentioned that we don’t ‘talk’ anymore. He didn’t mean that we don’t talk about important things–the state of our marriage, the kids, finances, what wine pairs well with hot dogs. He meant that after the kids go to bed and the laundry is folded and the lunches packed, the kitchen swept and the radiators turned down, we often sit, on our respective couches on our respective laptops, and do our own thing. For a while we were playing Words with Friends across the living room from one another, like a cheap date night, but for the last few months, I will admit to being more quiet than normal. It has nothing to do with the state of my happiness, or the state of our marriage, or even the well-being of our family. It has everything to do with the fact that after 8 years of being full-time mom, I finally have both kids in school full-time, and I can finally, after a long time, hear myself THINK.
I will never again under-estimate the power of being able to hear one’s self think.
My head is not a quiet place. There is often a War and Peace sized novel of dialogue and lists and tidbits happening in my head at any given time. What do I need at the grocery store, are the kids warm socks washed, what day am I supposed to chaperone that school trip? Are they buying hot lunch tomorrow or do I need to pack one? What are we going to have for dinner? Will the kids have a different fruit/vegetable for dinner than they had with lunch? Did they have pasta last night or can I cook it again? Did I mail that birthday card, did I respond to so and so’s e-mail, did I call my mother? I need to renew my train pass, buy new water bottles, wish a friend Happy Birthday, schedule a doctor’s appointment, return a book, remember to pack gym clothes, update the blog. Make sure I call my grandmother, play a game with the kids, not neglect my husband. A thought for a post, a thought for a project, a thought for a book.
It’s anything but quiet in there.
Most of the time, this dialogue is simultaneously occurring with the orchestral cacophony that is family life. The water running over dirty dishes, a fight breaking out in the other room. Toilets flushing, name calling, the television, the phone, more name calling and younger sibling frustration boiling over. 650 utterances of “Mom” prefacing every, single thought before it is voiced, as if unless they acknowledge my presence, my listening, then the thought doesn’t exist. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. There will come a day, probably sooner than I think, when I will long for that word, long to hear them call me, talk to me, confide their dreams and their nightmares in me. But there are days I would sell an arm, a kidney, a piece of my soul for a moment of silence. And now, those blissful Monday mornings, I have it. And it is indeed, golden.
I love my family to distraction. I think they know that. I wouldn’t say I’ve put my life on hold since my children were born, but most definitely certain things have slid down the list of priorities, some are even laying in a puddle at the very bottom of that list. And now I am able to re-organize those priorities, those thoughts, my own dreams and nightmares. Having more than one dimension of silence to do that in is a luxury beyond my imaginings.
Virginia Woolf eloquently campaigned for a room of one’s own, but while a room would be nice, for now, a quiet Monday morning will suffice.