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Sometimes our house gets silent. Not silent in the way of the night when all are sleeping and things are well. No it’s a deafening silence. It’s a silence that occurs when one or the other of us need time or space for whatever we might need it for. Maybe we’ve been disappointed, maybe we’re stressed, maybe we’re upset. In many ways this silence is good. I’d prefer silence to long-drawn out arguments that don’t go very far and where things may be said in haste or anger or frustration. I’d prefer silence to these things. While I was a kid, things were never silent. My parents argued quite a bit. Somehow they stuck it out until (almost) all of us were out of the house. I don’t actually think that’s much better than those who call it quits before then, but that’s another topic for another day. Today, I sometimes have a silent house.
Despite the fact that I prefer the silence, I’m not always sure how to navigate it. It doesn’t matter who “starts” the silence or if it was a mutual “decision” where we just stopped talking to one another – it’s deafening. See, we are talkers. We both talk. We love to talk to each other. Our relationship is founded on talking (see 33 hours of talking). Not just the little day-to-day things, all things big and small. We talk about the state of our country, we talk about politics, we talk about the future, we make plans together, we talk about our days, we talk about our relationship, we talk about raising our son, we talk about society, we talk about breastfeeding, future children, natural birthing; we talk about everything there is to talk about. We enjoy talking to one another. We enjoy the dialogue and the difference of opinion. Sometimes we debate an issue, sometimes we simply agree and there’s not much to be said. But that’s our thing – talking. So, when we aren’t talking it almost hurts. This is our way and it very much works for us, but that doesn’t take away the deafening silence that ensues when we stop talking.
Usually it only lasts for a day, maybe a few hours. Maybe only moments. No matter the length of time, it’s really tough. When we start talking again, it always feels to me almost like eggshells. It’s not eggshell walking, or in this instance, talking; I know what that’s like. It is a bit stop and go, kind of like an older engine sputtering a bit before taking off at full speed. This transition from silence to talking mostly begins with something simple and innocuous, like “hey” or “dinner’s ready”, just another normal regular comment or question, just another daily life thing, something so very simple. Then, it’s another small or simple thing. We’re testing the waters. We’re testing our own waters and the waters of the other. We’re testing our relationship, or at least it feels that way. Sometimes hurt feelings may be mentioned, sometimes aggravation or frustration or disappointment is mentioned, sometimes the air is cleared. Mostly we go on.
We don’t go on with resentment because things have been ‘swept under the rug’. No, if something is there it’s mentioned at some point once the talking starts again. See, we don’t harbor angry or upset feelings with one another. We both know doing so is not conducive to a real honest relationship. We know that despite what we individually processed from our lives before we met, neither of us have the best of examples from which to glean positive and loving relationship behavior. We also don’t go on simply for the sake of going on. How do I know this? I know because we’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about no matter how upset we may get about something, we’re ultimately not upset with one another. We’ve talked about how regardless of anything, we are truly grateful for one another and our relationship/family, and how truly there’s no where we’d rather be. There’s the difference. The difference is that we are truly dedicated to one another, no matter any trials or tribulations that may occur in life. We are dedicated to having and creating a positive loving environment for ourselves and our children – our family. We not only want, but actively work towards continuously creating this “safe space” for ourselves and each other every day. Some things matter, most do not. This we understand and this we protect.
Does it sometimes feel like certain things matter – the amount of money we have, the car we drive, the work we do? Why, yes. But, in the end, does any of that matter? No. Very simply, no. What we recognize as things that matter is life. Besides, feelings aren’t facts. Life is to be lived. Life is to be experienced. The sun is not simply shining – it’s shining and that’s a splendid thing. The sun is to be enjoyed – during all seasons. The trees are growing and moving with the wind. The trees are there to help us have clean air to breathe, to be touched, to be admired. The waters flow in the rivers, in the streams, in the brooks and the oceans. The water is there for us to enjoy as well. These are the things that matter. This to us is Life! This, to us is what makes living. And it is in this living that we find ourselves and one another. See, we are talkers, but we’re not doers. We’re not doers in the sense that we have to be doing something active and be involved all the time. We do what needs to be done. We explore other things to do, yet we aren’t defined by the doing. We are defined by those things that are intangible. And, for these reasons, we get silent. For these reasons, we do what works best for us now. So, if there is deafening silence in our house, make no mistake we are not far from one another or ourselves. Make no mistake, we are simply in “time out” and we will reconnect soon. Make no mistake we are just trying to figure out how to live this life, in the midst of all the doing that’s out there and which convolutes our space.