Serenity Later

Whoever said, “silence is golden” obviously never had kids. As someone whose spent the last seven years desperately trying to keep my offspring alive and out of trouble, silence is suspicious. It means that instead of playing “Let’s Give Mommy a Migraine”, they’re playing “How Much Mess Can We Make?” The answer? Lots. It will be sticky, permanent, and disturbingly wet.  

Elizabeth dumps a box of toys on the floor while Elly sleeps.

            Such was the case last weekend when I accidentally fell asleep on the couch. The miserable weather kept Molly and Andy inside, and, unless I wanted them blown away to the next town by hurricane-force winds (an appealing thought, at times), we were stuck indoors.

It’s my failing as a parent that instead of playing board games and sipping hot cocoa, we had been at each other’s throats like rabid dogs. “It’s MY TURN to sit there!” Molly screamed at her brother, “you’ve been sitting there ALL DAY!!!” Groan. Another fight over the coveted “best spot” on the couch. “NO I HAVEN’T!!” shrieked Andy, “IT’S MY TURN TO WATCH TV!” At least I never have to worry about my kids’ lung capacity. “Alright, that’s it! The TV goes off. Molly, Andy, go to your rooms and do something quiet. The next person who screams is in BIG TROUBLE, you hear me?” I screamed. As the combatants slunk off to their rooms, muttering under their breath, I sighed. Was every household like this? Full of shrieking banshees and peanut butter sandwiches stuck to the ceiling? I lay down on the couch with a groan. I’ll just rest my eyes for a minute…… just a quick minute……

            My eyes opened with a snap. What time was it? What planet was I on? And, probably most importantly, where were my kids? It was eerily quiet in the house. Unnervingly quiet. As I struggled off the couch, wiping drool from my face, a sudden noise from down the hall made me start. “Watch what happens when I mix these two!” Molly giggled. Oh no. Oh sweet merciful heaven! When she mixed what two? Had they gotten into the flour and butter again? Were they mixing soy sauce and olive oil? Cursing my stupidity, I rushed into the dining room to find……. Molly and Andy sitting happily at the table, scribbling on sheets of paper. “Look, mama!” Andy chirped, holding up his drawing, “I made GWEEN!” He certainly had! He’d used two entire yellow and blue crayons to create a chunk of green pigment. “Wow, looks great, guys!” I puffed out, calming my racing heart. Shame on me for thinking the worst. Once again, my kids proved they’re better people than I am. Sure, there was six hundred crayons dumped on the floor (and the dog was eating some), and someone had attempted to make a bowl of cereal (the milk was warmer than freshly baked bread) but my kids were alive, safe, and happy. And they’d done it all by themselves. If that isn’t a proud mommy moment, I don’t know what is. The dog would be pooping rainbows for days, but that’s a small price to pay. “Can I join you?” I asked and settled down at the table. We colored happily, rain pattering softly on the window. Maybe I’m doing a better job than I thought! In this case, it turns out that silence was inquisitive instead of golden. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not gonna tempt fate a second time. If I accidentally fall asleep again, I’ll do it with my eyes wide open!