My daughter has a weekly writing course. The class requires that she journal at least three times a week. The content is expected to be shared with her peers.
“Mom! What am I going to write about?” is her usual exasperated demand.
“What about food, clothes, or books?” is my standard reply. Typically, I am working on projects myself and have no earthly idea what she has or has not already recorded.
Silence greets my response, and I know (I KNOW) that if I glance up from my textiles, paint, or computer—her eyes will be glazed with irritation. While brainstorming, she taps… her feet, pencil, head, fingers, notebook, and so forth. Sometimes, she whistles.
And, sometimes, I snap. At her.
“Please, oh, please… you’ve got to stop. This is my office, and I’m about to lose my mind. Please.”
A hurt and surprised stare meets my plea, and I feel like a heel. “You can be here, but if both of us are going to get anything accomplished, both of us need to keep quiet. Okay?”
Her tiny voice answers, “Okay.”
I feel worse. But it is quiet, creepily quiet, for ten minutes or so. My stitching, typing, or brush-rinsing seem deafening. I sigh.
“So what are you going to write about?” I ask as gently as possible.
A smile emerges. “What quiet sounds like,” she notes coyly. “I guess I just needed some time to hear it.”
She buries her head into a jumble of arms, pencil, notebook, and gorgeous hair, and the gentle scratch of her handwriting fills the space.
I smile, too. I hope she takes a writing class next year as well.