Be careful what you wish for

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

The sounds of silence.

For the mother of three active young boys, that is a rarity. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to run screaming from the house after the fifteenth recital of just how my 10-year-old beat the Spiderman video game by using Doc Ock's arms against him, or the seventh all-too-patient explanation of just how HTML works from the 12-year-old.

Then there's the three-year-old, whose favorite game lately is to walk around chanting "Mama mama mama mama" and expecting a reply from me every time.

After hours of this I would run - not screaming, but sneaking - to the local coffee shop where I could grab a few moments of blessed silence, broken only by the clink and rattle of dishes and the soft-spoken teasing from the servers.

Oh, how I wished for an occasional moment of silence…

Now, with my family still in Tennessee, I have learned the painful truth of the old saying "Be careful what you wish for - you just might get it."

I go home at night to my delightful little house, built with gleeful disregard of a level, and find that silence waiting for me. Even the cat, who was catnapped and dragged here to keep me company, is silent. Of course, that was hardly true on the trip down here. I was tempted at midpoint to stop at a veterinarian's and ask for a tranquilizer… and one for the cat, too.

My house is tiny and perfect for a temporarily single person. It has its own tiny noises, the soft creak and pop of settling, the murmured gurgle of the hot water heater, the subtle hum of the ceiling fan. But soft, murmured and subtle are not the noises to which I am accustomed. Arguing, laughing, tattling, crying, giggling, whining, and singing (badly). Those are the noises that have, until recently, filled the background of my life.

To fill the house with some semblance of company, I leave the television on – a rare thing for me, since I limit my watching to the news, Jeopardy and, in Tennessee, the Comedy Network. (Hint to our cable provider!) I have discovered, in my re-baptism to the TV congregation, several facts. Yes, Regis managed to find a co-host even more sweetening and obnoxious than Kathy Lee. No, I still don't like reality programs, where the producers seem to find the least "real" people in the country to participate. Yes, I still like the Cartoon Network, even when I don't have my kids watching as an excuse to eavesdrop there myself.

But Spongebob Squarepants, Alex Trebek and Ryan Stiles don't hold a candle to my own three noisemakers and I count the days until they join me here and fill my life with endless babble.

Make that four noisemakers - who would have ever thought I would miss my husband's snoring?

Mary Reeves is the editor for the Andalusia Star-News.