I couldn’t wipe the tears away fast enough. They kept coming and I raced to catch them with my pinkies. I could barely breathe. And I was sitting still, as happy as anything.
And, not once during that mini-ab workout did I think “We should be quiet.”
Really. So the hell what if the kids hear us laughing. Laughing so hard we cry. Laughing so hard we tap our feet for emphasis. Laughing so hard that only air escapes us, instead of sound.
So the hell what.
I never once considered our volume – which wasn’t loud, but wasn’t a whisper. The kids had been in bed for a little while, reading to themselves or choosing to coast off immediately.
“Are you going to sit up here?”
That’s the question I get every night, sometimes multiple times, from my son – and every time I tell him I will. Because, that’s what we do. We sit and talk and laugh and listen to music and once in a while, watch something that leaves us with thoughts that require immediate, prolonged discussion.
But this night, a woman they see as their aunt had arrived for a surprise visit. She is a goddess to them, in every way. She is exotic. And fun. And worldly and smart and funny and goofy and nerdy and wildly in touch with fantasy in the most intuitive, responsible way.
She’s their aunt. And she’s every bit that, by choice. And even after they went to bed, they could hear us laughing and telling stories and whispering and talking – because, we barely took a breath.
They were bearing witness to adulthood. To friendship. To authenticity. To flaws and plans and humor and respect. And they should hear that. As much as possible.
Don’t “shhhhhush” as they go to bed. Let them hear your life. I mean, if they should. Take pride in laughter and love and reflection and growth and hardship and endurance. Take pride in that shit, because they need to know what life has in store for them.
I’m not saying turn up the volume on Jerry Springer. I’m saying, let them hear you live. In good ways. Let them long for the days that they can stay up late and be part of those conversations that go on so long your stomach hurts. Let them look forward to the days that they get to play the game you’re playing – instead of going into another room to watch a show meant for kids.
Let them hear your life. They’re a part of it, sure. But they should be able to feel all of you, even when it’s past their bedtime or over their language rating or comprehension.
Let them feel you and your happiness. They love you. They deserve it.