The house was still chilly from the cool night as I got out of the shower and into my clothes. Slippers too, always slippers, the floors here are never warm enough and I miss having carpet under my feet.
I left my room and walked down an eerily silent hallway. Three kids and silence. Oh dear.
And there they were. The boy and baby girl were cuddled next to each other on a heating vent, each reading a book in their lap - The Magic School Bus for the boy, an animal board book for baby girl - as they munched their apples. I found the preschooler in another room, also warming himself on a heating vent while paging through a picture book.
It was perfection.
Such are the moments that cause my heart to swell three sizes. Most of our day is noise and chaos and laughter and fun, screaming and fighting and silliness and more noise, but sometimes silence falls and I wish I could properly capture it. I wish I could take a picture or a video, but it seems an intrusion somehow, and besides, it never quite lasts long enough to take a picture anyway. I wish I could write it down to the last detail - the way the sunlight slanted across the crowns of their heads, the way the whole house seemed to be holding its breath, the sight of their rumpled pajamas and the red-white of their half-eaten apples - but it's enough, I suppose, to simply witness and savour it.
I think back on that moment later in the day when noise is once again king and I'm counting down the minutes until bedtime (theirs or mine, really, I'm not fussed). There is joy in all of it, yes, both the noise and the silence, but the memory of those silent moments somehow makes the noise just that little bit easier on my worn-out ears.
Silence falls again as the three of them sleep. Always the preschooler first, he crashes hard at the end of the day. Then baby girl gives in after squirming around next to me for a while. Finally the boy falls asleep, always our night owl, and I can't ever go to bed myself without first standing at their door and watching their slow breathing for a while. I smile over their sprawled limbs - the preschooler thick and sturdy, the boy long and gangly - and then I close the door on another day.