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When They Get Quiet



No matter how old our children get there are some things that never change. Remember when they were toddlers, and they were in another room and suddenly they became extremely quiet? Suddenly there were no sounds of toys being thrown across the floor. There was no shouting, screaming or calling for mommy! There was a quietness that your mommy instincts told you right away that something was not right! So, you get up from your perch and almost run to little Johnny’s room. Perhaps he had fallen and bumped his head and was lying prostrate on the floor barely alive! Perhaps someone had come through a window and taken him, so skillfully that the little tyke couldn’t even scream for help. No wait, Johnny is a biter-couldn’t happen! Perhaps he had just gotten so exhausted from playing that he was on his bed fast asleep dreaming while visions of sugar plums danced in his head.


You reach the closed bedroom door, take a deep breath not knowing what you will face, and you open it. He is nowhere to be found! You run into the kitchen…not there either. You check the bathroom. The door is open and then you see evidence. There are clumps of hair on the floor. There are make-up brushes, foundation, mascara, and lipstick smeared all over the sink. A hairbrush looks like it took a nosedive into the toilet and a trail of toilet paper is leading into one of the other bedrooms. Your vocal cords that seemed frozen a few minutes before are immediately released and you shout, “Johnny, where are you?” Nothing. You hear no response at all. So, you make a mad dash, following the trail of TP and open the door. There standing before you is your precious little boy every bit of three feet tall looking like a mini drag queen gone wrong! You try not to laugh. You were not planning to get his hair cut this soon. Your make-up is expensive and the brush…. well, that is a complete goner. You have stockpiled the TP and that is immediately replaceable. It is at that moment when you hear Johnny say, “Sorry mommy” that your heart melts and all is right again.


My daughter was two years old when I had one of my many quiet moments. We had a corner fireplace in our little living room and on this fireplace, I had a beautiful plant whose leaves grew downward like a vine off a trellis. I was only gone for a few minutes into another room and for whatever reason I did not pay attention to the noise that I had heard a few minutes before. But now it was church mouse quiet, and I knew that something was going on. I walked first into the kitchen and discovered a cabinet door open with pots strewn about. I then went into the living room and there she was…my precious little toddler with one of my small cooking pots loaned with leaves from my plant! She joyously handed that pot to me and said, “Greens, mommy greens.” I was stunned! I never realized that she had watched me that closely when I was preparing collard greens to cook. Imagine that! It has been forty plus years since this has happened and I still remember that day. I was being given a glimpse into her creativity and ingenuity and cleverness. She is grown now and has kids of her own and those times when I don’t get my regular calls, when she gets quiet on me…I know that she is up to something!



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