Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peace and Quiet

Grammie's babysitter service is getting a workout these days. Love it, but it can be exhausting. I couldn't help but remember an imprinted-on-my-brain incident from when my own children were young.

Running errands with my overactive, overtalkative four-year-old son challenged my reservoir of parenting patience. As we drove the fifteen miles into town and then from bank to post office to grocery store, Luke rehearsed every thought that had crossed his mind since birth.

He regaled me with the plots of DVDs he'd viewed, books read to him, every song he knew, last week's Sunday school lesson and children's church story, every cow and chicken and tree viewed from the car window, and every around-the-world journey of his young but fully functioning imagination.

I did my best to feign interest. "Oh, is that right?" "You don't say." "I didn't know that." "Uh huh."

I loved hearing his little boy voice get excited about ordinary things. I appreciated his advanced vocabulary. My heart danced a little holy jig when his stories involved his love for the Lord. But the constant, high decibel talking wore my eardrums thin.

Feeding him snacks didn't stop the flow of words. Attempting to insert my own stories didn't work, either. Nor did bribery. "If you stay quiet for five whole minutes, we'll stop at Dairy Queen for a soft serve cone when we're done with our errands." No cone. I was disappointed on two
levels--serenity and lack of dessert.

A couple of hours and many volumes of adventure later, we headed back home. Fifteen long miles. I hoped that the gentle motion of the car on the smooth highway might lull him to sleep in his car seat, but no. He had more stories to tell. When he took a rare breath, I interjected, "You know what
Mommy would really like right now? I'd like some peace and quiet."

In the rearview mirror, I caught the look on his face. Deep contemplation. I thought my simple request might work. Then he raised his hand like an eager volunteer and said brightly, "I'll be Peace!" as if choosing sides.

"Good choice," I thought. "It's a sure thing you can't be Quiet."


Julie Dearyan said...

Know how this is as I have my lovely nine year old daughter who loves nothing more than to talk to Neal and I. My question is, do you miss this now?

Loved your thoughts as usual.