By Tim Hayes

Gosh, it’s quiet around here these days.

Now that all of the holiday hubbub has high-tailed it out of town, now that the riptide of people-traffic in and out of this house has slowed to a trickle, now that the garland and ornaments and knick-knacks of Christmas sit there throwing shade at me with their “what’s-taking-you-so-long-to-take-us-down-and-put-us-away-ya-lazy-bum” attitude, the inevitable crush of real life once again resumes its stranglehold.

It’s not that I mind getting back to the routine of work, sleep patterns, keeping up with things.  That’s actually a welcome relief in a lot of ways.  The pace of daily life can be very reassuring.  You know how stuff works and you’re good at it.  When you can get paid for doing something you’re good at, all the better.

Life is what happens in between the special events, which makes it the vast majority of one’s time, so you’d better get used to it and learn to enjoy it.  And I do, for the most part.

Being busy is fine.  But dang, it’s quiet around here now.

We had a great holiday season.  Lots of company, all of the kids home from college and jobs, boyfriends popping in, going to lots of movies, some wonderful meals both home-cooked and at restaurants.  Just great, all of it.

A couple of years ago, when we first experienced a true “empty nest,” we loved it.  Seemed like the frantic pace of the high school years, with activities and homework and constantly driving somebody somewhere, had finally cooled off.  We had our own time back, like it was before the kids started arriving all those years ago.  Oh, the tranquility, the calm, the peace!

Then the birds started flying back to the nest, on and off.  Okay, the door is always open to come home if you need to.  No problem.  It actually felt good to be needed, like a parent, again.

There’s probably some fancy Latin word for it, if you’d check a psychology textbook, but the notion of stepping in to save the day for my kids has always held great appeal – whether it’s some big heroic gesture, or something as simple as filling up their gas tank without them knowing it.  Getting that chance again suited me just fine.

But now the nest is nearly empty once more.  And doggone, but it’s quiet.

People are nuts.  For all those years of commotion – when the money got tight, and you weren’t sure you were doing this parenting thing right, and when they started driving and you worried about where they were and who they were with and what they were doing, and when the greatest sound in the world was the garage door opening and you knew they made it home safely – you told yourself you couldn’t wait to get some peace and quiet.

But that was a lie.  It was a lie back then, and it’s still a lie.

We were lucky this holiday season to get just a small taste of that delicious, terrific, wonderful chaos back in the house for a little while.  It was sensational.  The eye of a hurricane’s a great place to be, when you so thoroughly love and treasure the people in there with you.  Can’t wait for the next time it blows through this house again.

‘Cause brother, right now – it’s way too quiet.

Copyright 2016 Transverse Park Productions LLC and Tim Hayes Consulting