I came home from work this evening to total silence. Total silence. Well, not TOTAL silence – total is a relative word here. Maly is away at Grandma’s for a couple days and Elise is at her MOMS group until 9:30 tonight.
I put my bag down and opened the mail at the kitchen counter. I heard an odd and faint whirring sound. As I walked toward the entertainment center, the sound became less faint. The sound was the hard drive spinning inside the TiVo as it recorded a TV show. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that sound before. It’s not a broken TiVo hard drive sound – more of a working TiVo hard drive spinning sound that I’ve never had the opportunity to hear.
I walked back to the kitchen to finish opening the mail. Still silence. The sound of me opening an envelope was almost deafening. Opening and closing the refrigerator door produced a thunderous reverberation throughout the kitchen. Because I could hear them, my footsteps seemed to be coming from someone else’s feet.
I stood at the kitchen counter and just looked blankly out onto the living room and out the windows to the backyard and thought, “this house will be like this one day.”
Fifteen years flashed before my eyes. I left the nest and moved to Austin to attend college 15 years ago. The 15 years that flashed before my eyes were not my own; they were my daughter’s. And each year, as it flashed, paused long enough for me to catch a brief gaze. The plays, recitals, games, classes, sleep-overs, slumber parties, trips, study groups, dances, dates.
And 15 years will have gone by like that, just like the previous 15 years have. At that point she will be 18-years-old. And I will be 35 because of cryogenics and human growth hormone. She will ready to leave the nest. Ready to pass through the ivory towers of the university or embark on whatever life journey so bewilders her. We will have done the absolute best that we can in that short amount of time to prepare and help her to be the best woman that she can possibly be.
One-sixth of our daughter’s life at home has already passed. I sit in a silent house hearing only the clatter of my keyboard and the squeak of my chair tonight. It’s nights like this that allow me to think about what’s really important in my life.
What’s important is now.
The next time she runs to me and asks, “Daddy! Want to play wiff my dollhouse wiff me?!?!”, there will be nothing more important.