When I'm on the phone with friends, at some point in the conversation they get exasperated with their children. There are questions to be answered, fights to be resolved, or tears to be dried. And I love it. There's something about eavesdropping on the chaos that makes me feel like I'm in the thick of it.
I love getting to imagine the scene on the other end of the line... seeing Tyler wiggling in his pj's while he sings along to his toy recorder, "One little birdie, sittin' up high..." or picturing Ben running in the house all red-faced and sweaty with the door slamming behind him as he yells to his mom that he needs a snack. Hearing Nicole's girls giggling or hearing Meg whispering to her daughter because Miss Taylor has handed her a note saying that she has a question (ever the polite one). I love picturing the sounds of living.
My friends, on the other hand, love when they have the stolen moments of peace and quiet on the phone. They usually call me from the car on their way to pick up the kids or on their way to the store when no one is with them. They call when the kids are out playing or when they're in the kitchen doing dishes (because that's a time they are guaranteed to be alone).
My friend Susie thinks I'm a jinx to the quiet. Her boys can be out playing or in bed or watching a movie, and the moment I get on the phone all hell breaks loose. Every time. Someone needs something or someone has to show her something or the dog knocks over a chair. Some random thing in the universe inevitably sprinkles activity back into a previously calm life.
It drives her crazy, but I think it's God's way of sprinkling my life with a little entertainment. While I regret it's at her expense, I love hearing every giggle, every exasperated question and every crash that follows. They were camping this weekend and Susie told me that out of the blue my boy Tyler told her that he felt bad for me. She asked him why, and he said because I was sick a lot... and that he can't come see me because he has a cold and that would make me get sick. The sweet little love of a kid.
I can't help but sit here and think if he only knew that all of his antics in every day life bring me more joy than I can measure, he wouldn't feel so bad for me anymore. I'll refrain from explaining it to him though, because I imagine in another ten years he'll try to use it as an excuse for being ornery and causing trouble. I can picture him as a teenager, with a serious tone and a sassy grin, "But mom, I'm doing it for Sara. We'd hate for her to be bored."