During this second therapy session, as I prepared to try again to teach our three, four and seven year old to sit quietly and patiently in a waiting room, the woman at the front desk whispered, "Why don't you take them to the child center?" The what? "The child center...it's right down the hall and it's free for family members of patients." I turned to look at the kids as they all three tried to fit on the same chair - one hanging upside down, and said to them, "Let's go!"
When we walked in, their eyes lit up. There were centers, toys, games...on and on of pure kid awesomeness. A cute girl stood at the front desk and asked me to sign them in. No one else was in the room, no kids, parents, just her. I wrote their names and ages on a clipboard and we all walked into the wonderland. The twenty-something said, "Oh, you can't come in...sorry!" I watched as the kids took off for a bee line to an airplane and said, "Oh! But can I be here and then leave if another child shows up? We only have about 30 or 40 minutes until my older son is done with his physical therapy." She smiled and shook her head..."No, Sorry, no one but children and staff." My thoughts divided. I'm so used to being with them constantly...but on the other hand...are you KIDDING ME?! At least thirty minutes to take a breath?
I told the girl that I would be right outside in the hallway if she needed anything. There were a group of chairs and a couch in the hall outside of the child center, so I sat. I just...sat. At first I didn't know what to do. My mind became flooded with what I 'could' do or what I 'should' be doing. I started wondering about the kids, if my husband was having a good day at work, bills, did I give the cat food this morning...on and on until it hit me. I am sitting, on a couch, in a hall with absolutely nothing to do. I couldn't go anywhere because the girl at the front desk said that I had to stay in the facility. I couldn't do anything because I had nothing with me. A smile came across me. The three younger kids were having fun playing, our older son was working on his foot and all was well.
Why don't I take time to do this? Even when the kids are busy playing or when they're in bed and we get some "down - time," we bombard ourselves with tv, computers, the phone...it's constant. There's a continual flow of input and it's next to impossible to shut it all off. I don't remember the last time, if ever, that I just sat and did nothing for thirty minutes in my life. It was actually hard to do. It made me realize that it's important every once in a while though - to just stop and breathe.
When the time came, I went back in to get the kids. They complained about wanting to stay and play longer and we were off to get Christian in physical therapy. Reality set in as the five of us stood at the front desk to make the next appointment while the two middle boys put each other in a headlock. While I pulled them apart I turned to see the same woman, sitting in the waiting room again while knitting in her seat. She smiled at me and I smiled back. I got it. Not that I'll be able to pick up knitting anytime soon but I understand now how important it is to sit and be calm and quiet, peaceful even, for just a little. In this crazy and wonderful thing called life, it's good to stop every once in awhile and enjoy the sound of silence.