Enjoying the Sound of Silence

It’s Friday morning, I sit in silence and it is just plain weird. For the first time in three months, the house no longer has a non-adult presence and I don’t mean those precious moments when the kids are outside playing on the street, I mean full-on somebody else’s responsibility absent. I can actually gather my thoughts and make a plan for the week, well only the one week between now and Easter holidays. Of course during the Easter holidays the kids get a full fortnight to fall back into old patterns again. But what an interim week that will be!

Sure there are some downsides to the kids returning to school, the main one being that I have to drag them out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7.30am! To be fair I only have to drag one of them out, Aaron, Lochlan and Ella are normally decent early risers with Aaron usually being the first one up in the morning even ahead of yours truly. He clearly inherits his early morning fondness from my Dad, a notorious early morning person who would regularly wake me and my sister with verses penned by Gilbert O’Sullivan or was it Donovan. Oscar, our 8 year old, on the other hand is definitely not a morning person (apparently he gets this from his mother). Our first interaction of the day normally goes along the lines of this:

“Hi Oscar, it’s morning and time to get up for school”.

Grunting noises from under the covers.

“Oscar, your brothers are all up, the sun is shining and it’s a school day so you need to get dressed”.

“I’m not going to school”.

“Oscar you know you have to go to school and besides you enjoy it there. Also it’s the law and if you don’t the guards will take mommy and daddy away and put us in prison”.

“I don’t care, I’m not getting up”. Covers are grasped tightly like a hedgehog defending itself.

At this point I can feel the red mist descending as Roy Keane would say, so I exit to start the packed-lunch making process while Niki takes over the negotiations with Oscar.

But these little traumas aside, the transition to mornings sans enfants has been a smooth one. The amount of shouting between the hours of 9am and 2pm has certainly decreased dramatically. I mean how many times can someone forget when they are due to have a zoom call with their teacher, it was at the same time every day for god’s sake. Also what is it with older siblings getting distracted by telling their younger brother how to do his school-work. They certainly seemed to be way more invested in this than their own work. Originally I was under the misguided illusion that this was done in the name of helpfulness but soon realised it was more along the lines of “I’m so much cleverer than you”, I think it was the repeated use of “idiot”, “eejit” and “dumbass” that tipped me off to this.

So instead of roaring and raging while trying to remember my 12 times tables and “cupla focal as Gaeilge” from my youth (this inevitably ends up with me telling stories about my days in the Gaelteacht to my bemused offspring), I now have time to catch up on world events (not that much better to be honest) and scour the internet for online short story competitions. I think my niche is flash fiction, I mean how far wrong can you go in less than 500 words!

Then there is my quest to complete as many jigsaws as possible in a rolling 12 month period, or my attempt to read every Booker prize winner since the competition’s inception in 1969 (15 down, loads to go) and not forgetting my never-ending Ultimate 90s dance music playlist on Spotify. Niki thinks I should probably start looking for a job now, but whoa there is way too much uncertainty going around for that. What if a fourth wave hits and we are back to homeschooling in May (screams silently).

Of course it would be nice if this new found freedom was accompanied by the ability to sit down in a cafe somewhere or meet up with friends for a chat but hey that’s the new normal as they say. Just for now I’m thankful that I can hear my own thoughts.

And most importantly of all, for the first time in ages I have the couple of hours of silence required to write this blog!

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