The other night, I was lying in bed, just about ready to drift off to sleep, when suddenly I was startled awake by my son, Alex, yelling at his friends through his gaming headset. It wasn’t an angry yell, more one of excitement, but it still was jarring nonetheless.
It also, however, startled and woke up our dog, Sadie, who then began barking and woke up the chinchilla, who loudly jumped around his cage and woke up our daughter Riley, who yelled at her brother for starting the whole chain reaction. I wish I could say it was out of the ordinary but, if I did, I’d be lying. No, this was just another night in the Brigger household.
Perhaps experiences like that are why I often find myself rolling my eyes a bit whenever I hear the Christmas song “Silent Night” during this time of year. You see, silent nights have been very few and far between in our house for the past 21 years—ever since we brought our oldest daughter, Maddie, home from the hospital.
From that day forward, nights became anything but silent. My husband, Mark, and I were constantly bombarded with cries of hunger, wet diapers, lost binkies, and an ever-growing list of other noisy situations. I quickly found myself becoming hyperaware of every little noise I would hear on the baby monitor.
Yes, those silent nights of sleeping “in heavenly peace” were definitely gone.
The Progressive Sounds of Life
As the kids got older, the noisy moments of life continued; the situations just changed. Suddenly, wet diapers morphed into kids standing next to the bed saying, “Mom, I wet the bed.” Cries of hunger were replaced by the screams of nightmares. And we won’t even get into the very unpeaceful sounds of late-night stomach bugs. At the time, I’m certain you would have heard me beg for some peace, quiet, and a good night’s sleep.
Fast-forward to today, and you will find Mark and me still immersed in the noises of our family life, but we are now in a season of all new and different noises from the usual ones. We now lie awake listening for the reassuring sounds of the car pulling into the driveway or the keys unlocking the front door. Those sounds bring comfort.
Other sounds, though, such as the sound of a ringing cell phone past 9:00, immediately trigger a state of panic.
Embracing the Noise
Just like with life, the noises—and their meanings—continue to change. There are still not many silent nights in our household. And I’m really OK with that because I know that one day there will be, and I’ll miss the noise.
We experienced it a bit last year when our oldest daughter, Maddie, briefly moved out, and the house got quieter. Fortunately, she moved back—along with her high-energy goldendoodle—and the noise returned to a comforting level.
But now, we are finalizing college plans for our son, Alex, and facing a drop in decibels once more. He wants to go away for school, and with each college visit I am becoming keenly aware that that will mean no more episodes of late-night whooping and hollering over video games coming from his room.
So, while the song lyrics may equate a silent night with a holy night, I respectfully disagree with this holiday classic. That’s because I, personally, find the holiest of nights to be those that are also the noisiest.