A few years back, my daughters asked me what I wanted for Father’s Day.
“Peace and quiet,” I quipped.
To further the joke, my wife complied. For the holiday, they gave me earplugs.
Sometimes as the only man in our home with four women, it can be hard to get a minute of silence, so you can hear yourself think.
Most of the time, the air is filled with noise. Maybe it’s someone watching TV or listening to music. More likely, it’s someone yelling about something inconsequential.
In those moments, all I can do is pray for patience and serenity and wonder when I’ll find that minute of solace.
On Friday night, I found 180 of them.
Our younger two children went to a Kids Night Out at our local YMCA. They were excited about being able to go do something on their own, aimed for their age bracket.
Our oldest daughter decided to do the teen thing, hiding in her room and trying to pretend she doesn’t have parents. My wife had some projects of her own to accomplish, and I brought a pile of work home with me. We retreated to different corners of the house and did our own things.
In complete silence.
No fighting. No yelling. No extraneous noises in the background.
I’d dreamt about these circumstances for years. I often wonder what life will be like when the kids graduate and move away, leaving the house to just my wife and me.
I’ll have to rethink that goal, though. As it turns out, quiet doesn’t necessarily mean peace.
For every moment of quiet, a million other random thoughts tore through my head. I spent more time Friday pondering my children’s futures and aspirations than perhaps the previous year combined. I kept wondering how they’re doing. I kept wondering if they’re having fun.
There’s no peace and quiet when it comes to worrying, just quiet.
As it turns out, I kind of miss it when they’re wandering through the house with their own personal walls of sound. I kind of enjoy the interruptions they provide.
I’m fortunate to realize it now. They’re still young. I still have more than a decade to savor all of the noise.
It may not be quiet, but it does give me a great deal of peace.