My son is in the next room strumming beautifully on a guitar he didn’t even know how to play this time last year. His voice joins in harmony with his friend’s as they practice for an upcoming audition. She does this wonderful, improvised thing and he stops.
“Oh yeah! That’s great.”
I can hear the smiles.
It’s the sound of joy reverberating through my home. Joy and perseverance and belief and self-doubt and trial and error and passion.
Thump. Thump. Thump. The ball beats a passionate rhythm against the wall. My family room seconds as a soccer field. This is why we can’t have nice things—because I’d rather have a soccer field in my home than nice things. The thumping grows faster and harder, then a miss, followed by an expletive. Then the rhythm starts again. Slow and steady and sure. Then faster.
It’s the sound of persistence, consistency, determination, sweat, aches, pains, skinned knees and pulled muscles. It’s the sound of missed goals and trophies not won and championships celebrated and hard fought victories.
I stand outside my daughter’s bedroom and listen to her reminisce on the phone with her friends over last night’s dance. They already regret things they didn’t say, dance moves they shouldn’t have tried, and the photo they didn’t take of the three of them while their hair and make-up was still on point. But they laugh it off. There’s still time.
My son comes up behind me and tells me not to eavesdrop, that privacy is a right. “Not in this house,” I joke. “Never has been.”
What he doesn’t realize is that I’m not eavesdropping. I’m not trying to listen in on a conversation. I’m only hearing the sound. I am breathing in the sounds of their voices and laughter and tears and lives.
There’s not much time. In eighteen months, my last two kids will have flown the coop. They will take their noises with them. They will also take with them their triumphs and sorrows and tenaciousness and doubt and faith. And my heart.
I’m not looking forward to the silence.