Silence is golden. Or so they say–not that I would actually know.
Today driving home from errands, my oldest child was belting out an extremely (and by extremely I mean obnoxiously) off-key version of whatever song was on the radio. I have no idea what song that might actually have been because I couldn’t hear it above the deafening roar that is the inside of my vehicle. I do know it was way out of her vocal range, but that didn’t stop her from giving it the old, enthusiastic tweenage try.
My youngest child, not to be outdone, was next to her jabbering on excitedly about…well, pretty much everything. He is a very gifted talker, that one. He never, ever, ever runs out of words. Ever. I have nooooo idea where he gets it from (**bats eyes innocently), but I’m pretty sure it must be his father. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
On this particular day he was regaling me with Star Wars trivia, explaining all the endless reasons why we should buy a new Ford F250 extended cab with a full-sized bed (he’s very specific about that), and pondering the universe in general.
In order to be heard above his sister’s nois…er…I mean singing, he was speaking in decibels suitable only to burst an eardrum, which of course his sister had to sing over, which of course he had to speak louder than, which of course she had to sing over… Key minivan fight club.
Just another average, everyday, typical outting.
My head was spinning around in circles like the little girl on The Exorcist, and I felt like it was about to explode. I remember thinking to myself, “Ugh! What I wouldn’t give for some silence!”
And I yelled something like, “FOR THE LOVE OF MY EVERLOVING SANITY–WOULD YOU BOTH JUST STOP YELLING!!!!!” Which, of course, was about as effective as swatting a grisly bear with a flyswatter. Yeah, yeah. The parental irony isn’t lost on me. I never claimed to be perfect, just a very messy work in continual progress.
When we arrived home, I wanted anything but to be in the same room with my children who were more volatile than a couple of firecrackers on New Year’s Eve, so I sent them off to their respective rooms to defuse (well, actually so I could defuse, they never stop).
I headed to my bedroom for a much needed mommy timeout (i.e. chocolate binge) and tripped over my husband’s big ol’ farm boots–right where he had kicked them off and left them before his last trip, giving my not-so-funny bone a good whack on the doorjamb. It wasn’t funny.
I promptly thought a few loving, supportive, super wifey things (or not) about his boots before storming into my room and plopping on the bed for a well-deserved pout.
You see, in that self-serving moment of frustration I was viewing my family as an annoyance or an inconvenience instead of seeing them for what they truly are–my greatest and most cherished blessings. It was a selfish moment of me. I was romanticizing that beautiful, sweet, golden silence.
I opened up my Facebook page and BOOM. Instantaneous, heartbreaking, earth-shaking perspective shift.
With tears running down my cheeks I read not one, but two stories involving our extended aviation family.
A beautiful aviation family in Texas (Travis and Kristen) were saying their final goodbyes to their precious 13-month-old baby boy. A month ago they celebrated his first vibrant year of life; today they watched as he took his final breath. Their healthy, active, beautiful boy had contracted meningitis; and just like that he was gone. They are donating his organs so that another family can be spared the pain of their searing loss.
A SW Captain (Tom) felt a little ‘off’ before his flight. He was evaluated and quickly progressed to seizures. He was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma (a malignant brain tumor). After emergency surgery he contracted a staph infection and is now fighting for his life in ICU. He has a beautiful wife and three children. Just. Like. That. Everything changed.
Let me tell you, suddenly my children singing and jabbering in the backseat didn’t seem like such an annoyance or imposition. My husband’s boots were no longer an inconvenience.
They were an incredible blessing.
This is what I know. Somewhere out there tonight is a hurting momma who would give anything to be ‘annoyed’ by the incessant chatter from the backseat.
Somewhere out there tonight, there is a wife who would give anything for her husband to walk in the door and kick his boots off ‘in her way.’
You see, silence–their silence–isn’t golden. It’s full of redhot, searing pain. Silence is the sound of sorrow.
Here’s what I did. I called my beautiful, noisy, heathy kids downstairs, cranked up the radio and sang Alabama at the top of my lungs with them. I texted my husband and told him that he is the love of my life. I listened to my little boy ponder the intricacies of Han Solo.
And I was thankful–for the noise, for the boots, for another precious day to love my little family with everything I have inside me.
Because tomorrow is not a promise. It is an ever-shifting mist that quickly dissipates with the gusts of life’s unpredictable winds.
Hold them tight friends. Love them fiercely. And be thankful for noise and boots. It means you have another day to love them. What some family out there wouldn’t give for that precious chance tonight.
I love you, aviation family.
Angelia (an extremely grateful pilot wife)
**Please keep Travis and Kristen’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they learn how to move forward in life without their child. Please keep Tom and Michelle’s family in your thoughts and prayers as he fights for his life tonight. They are our aviation family. My heart is hurting for them. When one of us hurts, we all hurt.