Once upon a time, I was young(ish) and my daughter was a pre-teen. I remember being slightly more patient then, and with a better tolerance for noise.
Or maybe not.
It's a beautiful, perfect fall day - the kind of day that impresses even those who, like me, aren't always enamored of the outdoors. And I considered taking my laptop out on the back patio to write this...except that my husband and daughter (both of whom love the outdoors) are already outside...which means it's quiet in here. And so I'm letting in the fresh air and sunshine by opening windows and blinds, but I'm staying inside where I can work undistracted, and guilt-free, knowing we are all where we want to be at the moment.Both my husband and my daughter are able to work undistracted even in noisy environments. In fact, they prefer them. They can't understand why I'd choose to work in silence when I could be listening to music, watching TV, or both. I can't understand when I became my mother, admonishing my daughter (and sometimes my husband) to "turn that down."
I used to think my husband developed this preference because he grew up in a large family. As the seventh of ten children, he had little experience with quiet or solitude. My daughter, however, is an only child, but has inherited her father's preference for background noise. I blame it on her dad, who loved to wind up all of her musical toys when she was a baby, and delight in the resulting cacophony. That was over a decade ago, and I didn't enjoy it then, either.
But maybe it's genetic. And most likely, it will serve her well. I find it increasingly difficult to find the kind of peaceful quiet I need in order to relax, focus and, ideally, create, whether I am seeking this elusive silence at home or out of the house. At work, the lively presence of elementary school kids is palpable, even when the hallways are quiet. When I go to lunch, restaurants play background music, have televisions on, or both.
Outside of my own house, I'm better able to relegate these things to white noise. At home, however, my parental senses remain heightened despite - or perhaps because of - the fact that my "baby" is nearly twelve. Most days, a blaring television, or even the sound effects from an action/adventure movie make it very difficult for me to focus my attention where it belongs, let alone create. But, when the television is on, I know where she is and what she's doing.
But when I can find that silence...it is the best therapy imaginable. It's restful, restorative and the backdrop I need to form intelligent thoughts and write coherent sentences. Some may choose to believe that I am getting old and crotchety. I prefer to think that I recognize the value in something that seems to be so hard to come by.