by Dave Markwell

My house is loud. My kids make a lot of noise. My dogs scratch and moan and bark. My father-in-law is visiting and he is perhaps the loudest one of all. No one seems to enjoy silence, except for me and probably my wife. I suspect she stays up late to achieve a few quiet moments in our home. I am up early and savor the peace with a sunrise.

This may sound like a complaint. Well, it is. But, it is more. I remember and recognize the changing sounds. Voices have changed. High volume TV and music has changed. My son no longer makes Spiderman web-blasting hisses while cocking his wrist in my direction. My daughter doesn’t talk to her stuffed animals any more. The noise-making delivery systems may have changed, but the noisiness has remained. I find some perverted comfort in the lack of quiet.

My comfort may come from the understanding that soon enough it will be silent. And I will miss the noise. The noise lasts as long as it lasts, then is gone. I can tolerate the noise because it, like my kids in my house, will be gone. It represents a special time.

Like all of parenthood, conflicts exist. We wish for compliance, yet encourage independence. We want quiet, but enjoy the sounds. We want them to grow, but stay little at the same time. We find no easy answers and struggle for even the right questions. In short, we don’t really know what the hell we want or what we’re doing. Parenting is a perpetual state of “winging it”.

Gratefully, our kids don’t know this. They may suspect, but we’re right often enough to confuse them. This is our super power. Being smarter, or at least more savvy, we can fool them. This may be my greatest defense. I have no offense. I live on my heels, dodging punches and potential crises. I have learned to move swiftly.

So, as I sit trying to concentrate on writing words, I accept the noisy distractions. Wandering in and out of focus, I stop and just listen. I hope to remember this time. A little frustration is a small price to pay for remembering my real life.

I like the truth, as muddy and untidy as it is. Life stories are scribbled in crayon on surfaces not meant to be drawn on. Tales of our time on this earth are presented as loud songs bellowed as we’re trying to read a book or write a column. Recognizing that life is ALL experiences and not simply the ones which comfort us, it is important to embrace the ugly and noisy. We should not miss any piece of our lives. It all just goes so fast.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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