Holding onto my hat

Holding onto my hat

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I used to joke that I lived in a zoo. 

Four growing children jostling for space, attention and food.  Home was a never-ending commotion of chattering, shouts, squabbles and uncontrollable giggles.  Anxieties over exams, high fevers and character development competed with frustrations over lights left on, belongings lost or found elsewhere and bedrooms in a persistent mess.

For years, we ate on plastic plates and drank from unbreakable mugs: glass and children do not mix. Since day 1, we have never bought the sofa or furniture we liked or wanted. Thus, we spared ourselves from pain when sweaty bodies spread themselves over the fabric sofa, when the coffee table became stricken with ink stains or when the TV chair collapsed through repeated abuse.

Those days, I longed for peace and solitude. Even taking a shower offered no solace.  A closed door would not deter anyone below 5 feet tall from asking or discussing something with you through the same.

Now, three out of four have flown away.  We are down to our last.  Unruly bedrooms are a thing of the past. Neatness and tidiness are now able to reign as they never did before. And yes, we can now drink from glasses.

These days, I can actually hear the sound the wind makes when I sit in my living room. 

But how I miss the sound of the front door bursting open and the rushing in of voices pitching the latest complaints; the urgent pleas for food to feed sudden hunger pangs; the wails for justice by an aggrieved party; the din of vocal negotiations over dining table rights or TV channels; the excited discourse of half-finished sentences punctuated by peals of laughter.

All that has now been consigned to memories.

To think that I can finally buy the designer crockery or the kind of sofa or furniture which I have seen and admired in other people’s houses, offer me little joy and no compensation for the quiet stillness which now resides as an unwelcome guest in my empty nest.