Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The strangeness of an empty childless house....

Tuesday night was strange.
Molly was invited round for a sleep over at her friend Ellen's house.
Molly & Ellen have been friends since nursery, or rather Louise & I have been friends with Ellen's mom & dad particularly since one horrible episode where we trundled along to Ellen's 3rd or 4th birthday and discovered we were the only parents who'd bothered to come along. Which, when you really think about it is a terrible thing for the other parents to do, luckily Ellen is a great kid and she and Molly had a great time. All of us have been firm friends ever since.

So anyway, she was over at Ellen's for a sleepover. She waved goodbye and disappeared.
Now I know it's a good thing that she's growing up to be a confident assured little girl.
But a bloody hug would have been nice.

6 years of worry, late nights, broken sleep, doctors, A&E, cuts, bruises, tears, stress, infections & more time, effort and money than you could calculate and all I get is a quick goodbye and a wave as she takes off. Bah.

I met Louise in town and had a quick drink before the football. Then we came home and had that strange feeling that our house just wasn't right. It's amazing how quiet and empty the house seemed. Strangely enough, even though we knew she wasn't there, we still instinctively left the landing light on, lowered our voices on the way upstairs and there was even a jarring moment for me when I went to look in on her and took a moment to realise that she wasn't missing.

If you don't have children you really have no idea of how quiet your house is. Even when they're especially good like Molly they generate their own residual noise. Even something as quiet as their breathing in the night-time can be missed when they're not there.

If it's like this now, heaven only knows what it's going to be like as we come back to the empty house after dropping her off to University and stop to hear the silence that will envelope us.
So it would appear that the noise of a child, no matter how quiet, is a glorious noise*

*Okay, I will concede that a child's noise is not always glorious. For example; the child I sat next to in the doctors tonight. Hideous noise. But admitting it in the main section ruins the sentimentality of the piece.

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