Something weird is happening in my house. It’s a phenomenon I don’t know quite how to deal with and it’s a bit unsettling. I believe it’s called “peace and quiet.” There have been a lot of changes in my house in the last few months. In addition to getting my two oldest daughters back into school, I’ve gone on a cleaning rampage in my house. I made seven trips to The Salvation Army last week, giving away everything from books to clothes and old bedding. If we aren’t using it or wearing it— I want it out of my house.
I crave simplicity, a place for everything and everything in its place. I’ve organized baskets for homework supplies and my kid’s shoes. I’ve rearranged furniture in my house making the rooms more user friendly and two of my daughters switched bedrooms. Now my oldest daughter, Aubrey, has her own room and the two younger girls are sharing. It’s a match made in heaven. Aubrey has outgrown the need for a light to be left on and craves quiet. Emma and Sadie like to listen to music while they drift off.
More than the furniture has shifted. I see my daughters’ relationships with each other changing. I see more of their own personalities emerging every day. Aubrey and Emma have been learning to cook with me over the summer, simple things: scrambled eggs, toast, a grilled cheese. And now when I wake up to start our school day, I’m no longer trying to do fifteen things at once.
“Momma?” Aubrey asks, “I’m making eggs, do you want some?”
“Sure,” I nod.
“HURRY and get dressed! We are running late, I’ve got to get dressed and still got to pack your lunches!”
“I can make lunches,” Emma, my six-year-old offers. She grabs her step-stool to reach the deli meat and cheese from the fridge and goes to work. I put the sandwich bags and all of her supplies within reach and as I walk to the back of the house to get dressed I hear her yell, “AUBREY! DO YOU WANT TURKEY OR SALAMI?”
“SALAMI!” Aubrey yells back.
Dressed, I rush back to the kitchen to see Emma picking peppercorns out of a slice of salami.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Aubrey doesn’t like the peppers.” She states.
“I know, but I don’t usually pick them out.”
“That’s how she likes it,” Emma shrugs.
Aubrey helps Sadie, my three-year-old, find clothes to wear. It may be rain boots and an old dance costume but my standards are low so I don’t say a word.
As we walk out the door Emma stops in her tracks, “Oh no!! I forgot to put a note in Aubrey’s lunch box!”
“You can see her from your lunch table, just wave at her.”
Sunday we missed church, again. If I’m not traveling then somebody is sick and with three kids it can take a month before everyone is well. Aubrey sat in the sunroom with me, quietly reading while I worked on my laptop. Emma laid sprawled across a chair in a nearby room playing a game on my borrowed cell phone. I opened the door so we could hear the wind in the trees outside. The rustle was so constant it sounded like the ocean. I leaned my head against the sofa and marveled at the peace in my house. I thought about the baby and toddler stages of my children’s lives and realized that part of their lives is over.
But I don’t miss it. I enjoyed those years. I loved them, I savored them. I survived them and I endured them.