Friday, January 21, 2011

The Sounds of Silence

Most people don't know it (including my parents), but I suffered from insomnia for probably a decade. I would lay awake for hours each night, tossing and turning, never able to fully fall asleep. My cure for it? The Army...well, Basic Training to be more exact. I was cured of my insomnia within a week.

I still have problems sleeping. I need background noise. A fan or noisy air purifier is most likely my security blanket. I turn the furnace fan on to sleep at night. It drives some crazy...when I sleep at my parents, I pull their colossal air purifier down the stairs and turn it on full-blast, sighing in bliss at its jet engine roar. I've passed this need of background noise down to my own children...the each sleep with a noisy air purifier in their room.

So last night, as I was having a sleepover with the girls, I'm laying in bed (of course in utter silence) cursing at myself for not bringing an air purifier. And I'm going more bonkers at the minutes pass having to listen to their whispers and giggles, instead of them falling asleep. And I'm about to go off the deep end listing to my beau silently breathe. It's driving me crazy.

I'm crazy, yes I know.

So I get up around midnight and finally plug in his fan. I don't care that it's in the negatives outside right now. Or that the fan is going to make the house freezing. I turn it on full blast and bask in the sound that will soon lull me to sleep. But before I fall asleep, I start thinking of how silence means something so different to me than it does most people. Silence to most, I would assume, would mean solitude. Calmness. A chance to finally relax, unwind, and let your mind wander.

My mind wanders to places I don't want it to go when I'm surrounded by silence. Maybe it's a touch of my PTSD, but silence reminds me of Afghanistan. It was only silent right before a mortar or rocket attack. Silence was never good in combat. When UH60's and Chinooks were taking off and landing, things were safe. That deep whoo whoo whoo of the rotor blades was my security blanket.

Now, as a mother, silence means that my girls are in trouble. They're doing something they're not supposed to, getting into something they shouldn't, or making a mess they have no intention of cleaning up. When they swing from the rafters like monkeys spoon-fed crack for breakfast, I'm actually less stressed than when things are quiet. When things are quiet, I have to drop everything I'm doing to go find them...usually hiding in one of their rooms, surrounded by literally every single toy in the house. Or sitting in front of the heat vent farthest away from where I am, shoving light bright pegs into it. Or emptying an entire dispenser of soap in the bathroom sink just to clean their hands.

I could go on and on. Silence in this house means someone is most likely getting a serious time-out. My point? Silence is NOT always golden.

"That buzzing-noise means something. If there's a buzzing noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee...And the only reason for being a bee that I know of it making honey...And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree."

~ Winnie the Pooh

3 comments: said...

You are right....the night can be awfully quiet and L-O-N-G!!!!

MonsterBug Blankets said...

I sleep with a fan at night. It doesn't blow on us. :) I grew up with an attic fan in the upstairs window, and I love the sound. I have fans in the kids' rooms, too--so they can't hear other noises--keeps them asleep longer! ;)

Mandy said...

Yep, silence can be deafening.

Hope you get a better night's sleep tonight.