Without fail, by 10 o’clock on most nights, my body decides it is done for the day and shuts down. If I’m on the couch, in the blink of an eye I am sound asleep.
Recently I fell asleep while watching TV.
I kept going in and out of sleep until I finally made it to my bed. At some point, before I drifted into sleep again, I heard the sound of a guitar with the accompaniment of beautiful melodious singing. Their soporific qualities brought a sleepy smile to my face as I thought about all the sounds that emanate from a home.
As a newlywed, my husband and I enjoyed each other’s company. I learned he was a movie buff, and so I broadened my horizons by watching movies with him. We had the sounds of laughter, love, and conversation with the intermittent background noise of TV.
Soon after, we had our first child. Now there were the sounds of a baby – crying, pooping, laughing, aahing cooing, interspersed with the sounds of us. Us figuring it out, us talking to each other, and us sleeping. Oh, the joy of sleep. Sleep became more essential, and movies took a back seat. But we kept talking and always tried to laugh. The background noise of TV receded for a bit.
There were more Children and more Sounds until my Quiver was Full.
With a house full of children there were some constant sounds in my world – Family Radio playing Christian music in the morning to calm the daily morning bustle. “Mummy, can you sign this? The bus is here. Have you seen my shirt? You’re not ready! Finish your breakfast. Let’s go.”
Once we made it to the weekend I looked forward to the whistle of the kettle for a cup of tea or the pages turning as we all read various books. In an effort to curb rude language I created the “Shut Up” Jar. Each offense warranted a quarter. There were snickers and laughter but once the children saw that I was serious I often heard the clink of quarters going into the “Shut Up” jar.
Eventually, they got the point until we no longer needed this jar. As the weekend progressed there was horsing around with Dad on a Friday night; board game battles; the crinkling of a bag to get to a beef patty; the popping sound as we opened the Styrofoam container that contained jerk chicken from our favorite place; the wind chimes on the front door signaling another person arriving or leaving and sometimes the slamming of doors (but not often).
On Saturdays, our house was filled with music – R&B oldies and Jamaican music played loudly throughout the house. The sound of housework was a constant also – cooking, cleaning, mopping, dusting, and organizing. We talked as we worked, and sometimes we bickered. Once chores were completed, TV noise increased again as we would watch movies in my bedroom together because that’s where the DVD was.
Of course, through the various stages of our life and love we all produced different sounds – boo-hoos, achoos, hmms, uh-ohs, groans, moans, stomps, claps, singing, snoring, shouting, yelling and “hahas” (always ha-ha).
Sometimes we whispered but mostly we were loud. Our love was loud. Noticeably absent from our lives was the sound of pets – we never had any.
My quiver remains full, but now my nest is almost empty.
I’ve watched the young adults leave three times now, but this time I am overwhelmed by my emotions. The youngest will miss her sister so now we experience the sounds of encouragement amplified, interspersed with tears, which are also amplified.
I comfort the youngest as I give myself the same pep talks. I miss the sound of her key opening the door, or tidying the kitchen late at night, and especially the sound of her guitar. I miss the spontaneous melody making between the youngest and her sister. Her guitar playing late at night as she composed songs, practicing for her many backup gigs. These two singing together with the ukulele and the guitar playing in the background; this was beautiful music to my ears.
And now I am here. This moment makes me realize that all those sounds brought us here to a point of exploration, growth, and creativity. Those sounds were the fabric of our family. The Lord built our house using us as His artistry (Psalms 127:1, 3-5 [NLT]).
Those sounds were who we are.
As I close my eyes, smile and drift off to sleep, I am grateful for the sounds that came from my house; the sounds that made my house a home.
Reflection: What sounds come from your home?