I stand on the porch pouring water onto thirsty flowers that have been ignored most of the summer. A light breeze rustles the leaves on the trees, and the birds and squirrels chatter back and forth in a soothing symphony.
Suddenly a scream pierces the silence like a pin in a balloon.
I stand deflated on the steps, my heart beating through my chest.
The birds and squirrels scatter in fear.
Then I hear it again, a blood curdling shriek that could peel paint.
I look up making uncomfortable eye contact with my neighbor who has a worried expression. I smile awkwardly, “Oh, boys ya know,” and I immediately rush inside.
I soon realize the screams weren’t out of anger, pain or frustration – just joy.
They were happy screams.
Smiling with relief I rush to the boys commending them for getting along, and in the same breath I begin shushing them.
“Guys seriously, you are so loud our neighbors can hear,” I lament.
“But we are just having fun mama,” replied the boys heartbroken that I’ve shushed their fun.
My heart skips a beat and I reassure them that having fun is great, but we need to do so quietly.
Do they REALLY need to be all that quiet?
No one is sleeping, working, studying or trying to watch PTI.
So does the noise really matter?
I never grew up with boys. In fact, I didn’t have any siblings in my house so playtime was VERY quiet. But now my house is filled to the brim with boys, and it’s LOUD.
Little Red especially has no concept of “the whisper” and he has a scream that will literally make your ears ring.
I never noticed how loud they actually were until people helpfully pointed it out to me. They would say things like “oh your boys have lots of energy,” which is code for “your boys are freaking loud, shut them up. Please and thank you.”
My embarrassment at their loudness grew and grew, just like my apologies. “I’m so sorry, they are so loud,” I say even before anyone mentions their lack of volume control.
I soon started to question my parenting skills.
Am I a bad parent because my boys are loud?
Why can’t they just be quiet?
Why am I failing at being the perfect mom?
Well, isn’t that truly it…we want our children to be perfect and fit into perfect little boxes and supposedly perfect children are quiet. Well, I guess that might be true if you are Stepford child. They didn’t talk much, and their robot voices weren’t loud enough to peel paint.
But I’m not perfect and neither are my boys.
We are messy, crazy and freaking loud.
Sometimes quiet can be boring.
Sometimes when you are happy you just want to scream it from the rooftops.
I want my boys to feel the freedom from laughing loudly and screaming for joy.
Soon enough they will grow up and be forced into silence by teachers, bosses and society as a whole. So, I’m going to give them the time and space to be loud. To shout their joy and happiness from the rooftops, perhaps that’s what this world needs – more happy loud.
So, on that day when my boys looked at me with pouty lips and sad eyes at being shushed for the 100th time, I told them, “As long as you are safe and happy you can be as loud as you want,” and with that the screams and giggles commenced while I grabbed a pair of ear plugs and joined in the fun.
The next time you walk by our house, just cover your ears, because it’s going to get Happy Loud up in here.