My youngest daughter and her best friend are playing intermittently with a recorder and chattering back and forth on toy phones. They’re across the house from me, but here, we’re never far enough apart to be unheard.
My sons are playing a video game with their cousins, they’re yelling at the screen. Asher can’t sit still, his bare feet pummel the ground.
Lila is in the kitchen, clanging pots and banging cabinets. The fridge door alarm beeps. There’s the scraping of a metal spoon against a metal pan, stirring soup.
I run the air conditioner for white noise.
Earlier this week, I walked through a Speech and Behavioral Therapy office with a very anxious Evie, not letting go of my hand, curling her body to my waist. She didn’t answer as the therapist attempted to coax her to speak. There were children laughing, squealing, climbing miniature rock walls. There were sounds of children screaming, wailing, shouting, coming from behind closed doors. Evie’s eyes were rimmed with tears when it was time for her to go in, without me. I listened, for her to cry, above the sounds of the other mother’s parenting their children in the waiting room, above the sounds of the registration desk people chatting about their weekends, above the sounds of shrieking from down the hallway. When I was sure she was okay, I walked out into the humidity, to be swallowed by the relative silence.
When I came to pick her up, she was fine.
Last week, I was pulled over for a one month past-due inspection sticker. I was driving home from picking up kids from drama camp. As he asked for my licence and registration, my sweaty, coming-home-from-camp children fell silent for the police officer.
God bless him.
Also, last week, Vinnie texted that he had hydroplaned off of 93.
He was fine.
But, when I met him at the garage where the state police had his car towed, the tow truck operator smiled and shook his head, with an expression that said, oh boy, that was something, and told me that I should have seen the skid marks his spinning out had made, carving up the grass along the highway. He was fine, so we can laugh about it. He ended up backwards and startled on the side of a busy highway, but he was fine.
On the drive home, as the kids were excitedly talking, telling us both about their days at camp, I imagined his car, fishtailing, sliding, nearly taking him away from me, but for the grace of God. I could hear my heart in my ears.
I carved out time to write this week, behind closed doors with the air conditioner droning and the fan swirling and cars rushing past my bedroom window and the sounds of children shouting, thudding, thumping through the house.
This blog post was literally just interrupted by my inability to ignore an escalating squabble over I-don’t-even-care-what-just-shut-up…
Passing back through to my room, the house was eerily silent, (how it is after your mother explodes and there seem to be eggshells everywhere). Evie stopped to show me the words she’s been working on, using Scrabble pieces. And they were all correct.
A win. A big, beautiful, win.
It’s August and it looks like it might rain again this afternoon and the house will only feel louder. I’ll escape to the basement and run on the treadmill in the muggy air, watching something mindless to pass the mileage.
It’s August and I’ll turn thirty-nine this month, and it feels, already, like a humid and foggy and fast and messy rush – a culmination of things, building. Not of bad things, but, exciting things, unknown things, and with it, there’s the sensation of being pushed, more quickly, down the track.
Everything is rumbling louder – or maybe I’m just growing more sensitive to, to all the things – either way, we’re moving forward.
And, we will be fine.