November 16, 2007
Our home is a loud home. We are loud people. Our life works at a decibel most people don't understand or function well in. My kids 'whisper' louder than some kids I know talk. The whole inside/outside voice doesn't compute that well because we are loud all the time.
Some days I just wish we could quiet down. I try with some sort term success. I brew tea, I put on classical music, I speak softly. It never fails though shortly after we start the volume meter is rising until it reaches near full throttle again.
I have learned to block a lot of it out. I can carry on conversations in a loud and crowded room, I can listen to both what the kids are doing in the next room and pay attention to the person in my room with me. I have even learned to tolerate the multiple and conflicting music playing in each room late in the evening as the kids go to sleep. What I am still working on is accepting the sheer volume of my childrens voices, Ciaran in particular.
Now I fully accept that we raised them in a loud home, we are loud adults and we love loud music. My kids favorite band right now is Relient K and there is not too much quiet about them. We play music in the car and in the house. We sing, we talk over music, we are just basically loud people. We are overwhelming to some other people. I have had kids in our car or home who are generally quiet kids and seem overwhelmed or shy at first. However, with only one exception so far, I have watched these kids relax and open up in our home and car once they know it is okay, the just kind of roll with it and I hope enjoy spending time with us. They come back anyway so that is a good sign.
Our home has it's sort of peace and comfort. It is comfortable here but it is not quiet. We have a certain peace that we find among the chaos and loudness of life but it is not the quiet respite of a bed and breakfast. I used to think it was just normal for houses with kids to be this loud. Kind of expected that this was life for everyone with small children. Then looking around I discovered there are many homes and families that truly have quiet kids and quiet calm atmospheres. Sometimes when we go there I worry that we are like bulls in a china shop. Because quiet kids can come into a loud house and you don't notice the difference so much but bring a few loud kids into a quiet atmosphere and you pretty nearly immediately notice something is different.
Our family personality is who we are and truly I am okay with it. I don't know that any of us would fit comfortable in the silence for too long. Don't get me wrong breaks of quiet reading and play are always welcome. Everyone has their quiet place they retreat to when they need to recharge. Whether it be in our library, living, room, bedrooms, backyard, everyone has a place they go to just be quiet for awhile and we respect when each of us needs that. Our main spaces though are usually full or energy, busyness, music, and lots of clear communication. It is also simply put loud.
Some days I just want the quiet - but then I look at my kids who are confident and very capable of expressing themselves and I remind myself that a home looks different for everyone. A home provides what its members need and while part of my idealistic brain would like that to be a quiet retreat place I know in my heart that is not what we need - we need a place to let it all hang out and be who we are, a boisterous and gregarious loud group. So bring out the kitchen band, microphone and escape to a coffee shop for a much needed break later on.
Peace in whatever form you can get it,
Posted by Tenniel at 2:16 PM