Most nights of the week, I tuck my kids into bed, fall asleep for a few minutes next to at least one of them, and then awake to a quiet home. A medley of feelings follows the silence…sweetness, relief and the blues. Sweetness because these boys are my heart. I want to breathe them in and kiss them endlessly. Both are kind, thoughtful, silly, creative bursts of energy, and their presence far larger than their small 4 and 6-year old bodies.
The relief comes from the marathon of daily tasks finally waning. Us parents have a firm grasp on a never-ending to-do list. Think groceries, meals, bathing, refereeing squabbles, praising kindness, serving as an emotional cushion for big feelings, and wiping another toilet seat. I have boys after all. Double those tasks if you’re a single parent.
Running a household alone is a continuing education. Odd jobs I never thought about before have accrued on my unofficial resume – troubleshooting the modem, caulking cracks in the attic, changing air filters, and hauling garbage, just to name a few. Add another layer of responsibilities to that list when there’s also a day job to uphold.
Lastly, there are the blues. Silence can be a beautiful thing. It can also be lonely. I vacillate between the two. The hush that envelops my home at the end of the day is a gift at times, an extended moment of Zen after a tornado of activity. It’s good. Soft. Nourishing. Calm. Other times, the quiet is deafening. And I’m left to my restless feelings and yearnings. I would outrun this hunger if possible.
A while back, I lost my two closest confidants in one fell swoop. My mother passed away, and my marriage severed. I don’t say that for pity. Perhaps I say it for mercy, or understanding. My mother was my soul mate; my husband too. The outcome is that when I yearn for connection, tenderness, conversation, or to experience myself as a woman outside of duty, my outlets wane along with the light. It’s what makes night the hardest time of day.
I know I’m not alone in these feelings. They accompany the subtraction of a loved one. So, from one quiet home to another, I wish you a good night. And as that silence settles around you, may it feel peaceful and calm more often than not.
~Robynne Boyd, Goodgrief App Co-founder