Picking up Adam from school today, he enthusiastically recounted every detail of his day from the letter W they studied in reading this morning, to the suspicious substance identified as “buttered noodles” which were served for lunch.  As he skips from one topic to the next, in rapid-fire style , it seemed as though he was out to break the world record for the number soul-baring confessions revealed in two minutes or less. 

And then a funny thing happened on the way home.  Silence.  In fact, it was so quiet that I actually looked back to check and make sure I hadn’t just imagined that I’d picked up my kid.  Nope, he was really just sitting there silently watching the world going by through his window.  

And then something even stranger happened – I kinda’ freaked out. I did what any mom does and tried to fill the conversational void.

“Let’s play a game.  How about I Spy?  In fact, I Spy the word ‘park’. Do you see it, too?  It’s on a green sign.  The word park starts with the letter P, right?”


“Yes, Adam.”

“Can you please stop talking to me?  My bwain is tired and wants to west for a wittle bit.”

[screeching brakes]

Seriously?  Seriously?  Have I just been shushed by a 4 year old…for talking too much?

I had.  

And, then, a final funny thing happened on the way home from daycare – I realized that the quiet kid in the backseat was enthralled by the world outside his window, completely content to just be in the moment.  All my yammering was distracting him from enjoying some peace in an otherwise hectic day.  More so, this need for quiet meant that my baby was growing up and he didn’t need me to entertain him as much as he needed me to be a safe place to share his ideas and his worries and then, to honor & respect his very human need for solitude.

Once again, I am left scrambling to understand my evolving roles & responsibilities with this ever-changing little person.  I know that’s what all parents are doing, so there’s some comfort in numbers.  At the end of the day, after the children are asleep, and with the dog at my side, it’s Dick who provides my safe place to share my ideas and worries, and it’s the sound of silence that brings us comfort.

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