Saturday, August 01, 2009

Different kinds of silence

I drove into town on Thursday to collect the tiles for the bathroom floor, and while in town I called at my daughter’s house. I’ve been charged with watering her plants while she is away on her hols. Usually when I walk in her door, I am hit by a wave of noise…happy noise, tired noise, or manic tantrum noise. Sometimes someone is crying. Occasionally the inhabitants are sitting silently eating their tea.

On Thursday the house was dead. It was silent. I am a person who likes silence. I am a Quaker, and Quaker meetings contain a lot of silence. But the silent house on Thursday was eerie and sad. I hated going into that lifeless space, with no small person rushing out of the playroom shouting "It's Sue!" and then engaging me in chatter about dinosaurs or pirates, or giving me a tuneless but hearty rendition of Bob the Builder.
I never thought I would feel like this about my grandchildren, but I'm just as soppy about them as the next grandmother. As the midwife in the Jessops Hospital said to me: “Grandchildren are nature’s reward for not strangling your teenagers.”

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