Thankful for the quiet, appreciate the noise

Jason A. Smith


Is it really time to write a Thanksgiving column again already?

I know I’m not the only one who wonders where this year has gone. My wife tells me that the reason time seems to go by more quickly is because each year represents a smaller percentage of your life than the one before it. She’s probably right.

Regardless, I’m thinking back on everything 2015 has brought with it thus far, and I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing wife who is better to me than I could ever deserve, a daughter who is the light of my life, a job that enables me to stay connected to a community I love, and family and friends who mean more to me than I can begin to express.

It’s been a crazy year at this end, one filled with all the noise that accompanies daily life. At my house, that translates into money issues, car problems, and never having enough time to do everything that needs to be done.

During the first half of the year, those noises were compounded by the sounds of parenthood – most notably, my little girl singing songs from Disney cartoons at the top of her lungs all day. It got to the point that this stay-at-home dad knew every word of the theme songs from “Sofia the First” and “Doc McStuffins,” and it drove me nuts. As much as I adore my child, I’d spend the last few hours of the day watching the clock in anticipation of her mother arriving home.

Things changed dramatically at the end of the summer, when my child started preschool. Since then, it’s been a lot quieter at the house. My daughter has been having the time of her life, making friends, learning something new every day, and making her mommy and daddy proud.

As for me, I’ve been having to wake up earlier than I’m used to, so I can get her to school in time for breakfast. Then I come back to the house and spend the day in relative silence, with the TV off and nothing but the music on my laptop to provide a little noise.

It’s so quiet at my house now. I never thought I’d develop an appreciation for such things, but I have. I’m able to get so much more done because it’s just me at the house during the day.

Every now and then, I’ll even catch myself humming one of the aforementioned cartoon songs while no one else is around to hear it.

Of course, the highlight of my day now is when I pick up my little girl after school. There’s nothing quite like going into her classroom and seeing her face light up when she notices I’m there. Then she makes a mad dash across the room and leaps into my arms as if she hasn’t seen me in weeks. I playfully ask her if she’s driving home, and she says she isn’t because “the law says I can’t.” Then, we spend the rest of the afternoon together at the house until Mommy gets home, complete with all those noises that drove me crazy just a few months ago.

As I think about everything that’s happened over the last year, I’m learning to be thankful for the challenges my noisy life has brought with it. The money issues and car problems we’ve had didn’t last forever, and they have served as reminders of God’s constant provision.

As a stay-at-home dad, I still feel out of my element sometimes. I even miss the noise of my little girl being at home with me all day.

But, I’m also thankful for those quiet days at home. They remind me that when God’s the only one with me, He’s all I need.

Jason has worked in newspapers since 2005, spending the majority of that time in Henry County. He lives in Covington with his wife and daughter.