I found myself in a predicament the other day - it was 6:45 a.m. on a Tuesday and the house was completely silent.
My wife and sons were still asleep, and the dogs were out in the yard taking care of their morning business. I suddenly found myself alone in the house, or at least it felt like it, with nothing to do for what seemed like the first time in months.
The mornings are typically pretty crazy these days with 20-month-old and 8-week-old boys dominating all aspects of the house. This is to be expected, and we have come to understand life will take on a hectic pace for the foreseeable future.
On this particular morning, the house was so quiet I could actually hear the furnace kick on in the basement. I can't remember the last time I heard that.
It's not that Carson, the 8-week-old, is loud. He is rarely audible, unless something is bothering him, like a dirty diaper, hunger or this nasty case of reflux that has his parents a little on edge these days.
It's Beckett, the older brother, who is responsible for the noise in the house. While hilarious and a total joy to be around, he's anything but quiet. Along with always being in perpetual motion, he's also consistently got something to articulate and it's usually in a loud manner.
It might just be incessantly pointing out his parents in a photo in the house with a string of 'mamas' and 'dadas'; repeatedly saying 'all done', which has oddly enough come to mean he wants a snack; or showing off his version of a vocabulary by identifying all the items on the Christmas tree. Whatever the case, he does everything a tad bit louder than he probably should.
During that recent prolonged quiet time, there were, of course, plenty of things I could have been doing with my free time on this particular morning. Rather than doing something productive around the house, like hooking up the new DVD player because Beckett destroyed the old one (it's a long story), I chose to actually retrieve the morning paper from the driveway before I headed off to work. Normally, I am too preoccupied and forget all about it until I walk outside to go to the office.
I even cracked the paper open, kicked my feet up with a coffee and read it for a while. Since my kids were born, I rarely read the paper in the morning. It usually ends up being read later in the evening. There's just not a lot of time on most mornings, and one sure way to upset my toddler is to try and read something when he's in the room. He is not going to allow that and will show his dark side if you even try.
After about 15 minutes of reading the paper on that peaceful morning, I couldn't relax and enjoy the downtime. I began to wonder when Beckett would start to make his presence known. I actually found myself wishing he would wake up soon so I could hang with him before going to work.
I knew the baby was fine because he was in a basinet in our bedroom with Pam. Those two needed to sleep as long as possible (you take it when you can get it), but I was starting to miss my morning antics with my oldest son.
Soon enough, as if on key, he started to make those familiar morning sounds and before long I could hear his 'nana' song. By that, I mean he just repeatedly says 'nana' in a variety of different pitches, ranging from whispers to shouts. He must get half of a 'nana' every morning or he's just not right emotionally. We don't go for any more than half because he's just not regular the rest of the day physically, if you know what I mean.
Later on that day, I started to marvel over this turn of events. Would this be our new routine? Forty-five minutes of quiet time every morning to do whatever I wanted. Maybe even sleep in a little bit?
I was starting to get a little excited. Surely, whatever I decided to do, I would learn to crave every single one of those 45 minutes and relish the quiet time around the house.
It turns out I had less than 24 hours to contemplate that pleasant thought, which turned into more like a hypothetical, as the next morning, around 6:30, a contrasting scene had unfolded.
The house was hectic and loud. This was more like I was accustomed to in the morning. Pam was feeding a crying Carson, who appeared to be particularly famished, while I was making breakfast for Beckett, who woke up extremely needy and was throwing a variety of inexplicable temper tantrums.
These are the moments shared between a husband and wife that I presume will one day be special memories. However, in the heat of the moment, they can be quite stressful, not exactly cherished at the time and likely the source of some hair color changes for me.
I do imagine that one day we will laugh and get misty thinking back at that particular morning when Carson vomited all over his mom and Beckett knocked his bowl of oatmeal out of my hands in a fit of frustration over the sequence of events (mainly that he was not having his 'nana' first).
As I drove to work on this crazy morning, I had to laugh at how I could not bring myself to enjoy a few minutes of peace around the house just the day before. I learned something for sure. Whenever the house is quiet because everyone is asleep, enjoy it, do whatever you want, even if it's sleep, for you never know when it might happen again.