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The (LOUD) Music of Parenthood

© 2000, by Lisa M. Roberts

Wow, that was neat -- changing the 1999 to 2000 copyright date. So here we are, folks. It happened. A new year, a new century, a new millennium clicked over...and it looks like we all got safely to the "other side." So now what?
Well for me, it's time to get ready for yet another celebration. Little Thomas, the child who was conceived at the same time I started writing my first book, is turning four later on this month. As I mentioned in my editorial last January, I can no longer refer to him as my "baby" -- he's a "real boy" now! And boy, is he for real. Ever-curious, every-playful, ever-messy, ever-LOUD, ever-demanding. Unlike this time last year, it's hard to still refer to him as a "sparkle" in my heart...he's more like a firecracker!
Like his older siblings, these days Thomas seems to only emit that angelic-baby-peace at night when he is sleeping. In the quiet and calm of tucked in blankets, dark rooms and distant nighttime sounds...all four of them join that divine space in time filled with harmony, happiness and hope. But that space is broken abruptly at the crack of the first waking child's dawn! And that crack whips my dreams right from under me EVERY morning.
As I keep reminding my family, I grew up in a very quiet home. I was the youngest of three and both my siblings were considerably older than I -- 6 and 9 years older. My brother was an aspiring pianist so I would wake up each morning to the music of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. My sister's passion was reading (the most silent of activities), and my parents were more often than not quietly occupied with household chores and projects. Noise? That came pouring in only during the holidays, when my cousins would tumble in for their visit.
Fast forward to 2000 and my family at present. Four kids from tween to pre-school, and a spouse who was weaned on country rock. Let's just say I very appropriately included ear plugs on my Holiday Wish List. But guess who got an electric guitar for Christmas? My 6-year old and 41-year old -- yes, two of them -- one a toy and one a BIGGER toy! While I admit to thoroughly enjoying the elder's new favorite pasttime (which lullabies me as I fall asleep), I am not at all encouraged that the volume of this household is on its way down. I insist on facing the new century based in reality. The rumblings of small children will grow into thunder sooner rather than later. And with a spouse who grew up banging drums in a basement band, they clearly have a father who knows how to lead the way.
So to me, 2000 marks the time in my life when I start mourning not only the peace and tranquility of my babies, but that of my own childhood. Not that I have any desire to be a kid again -- I really don't (OK, except when I've got the flu!) -- but I miss the calm, the structure, the effortless days. Of course I realize those "effortless" days were fashioned through great effort on the part of my parents, and more than ever I appreciate all the work that was behind the steady rhythm of my early life.
My mother likes to remind me that life is always changing, nothing stays the same. One look at Thomas and that's clear. Yet even though for a long time I craved such changes as greater freedom of movement -- that is, not confined by strollers and diaper bags and nursing schedules -- now that I'm firmly on this side of parenthood I see the tremendous workload still up ahead. OK sure, I signed up for this life twelve years ago and as always, it's time to move on. But honestly, must everyone be so noisy about it?

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, owner of The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC and the author of How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business (Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of her book are available for purchase at EP and through Amazon.

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