Thoughts on Quiet and Where I Went Wrong

ID-10070669My parents left our house on Saturday after a lovely and loud family dinner. They laughed on their way out and said they were going home to greet the Quiet.

I stood on the front porch, frozen for a moment with sudden longing, watching them walk away.

Because Quiet? I remember Quiet.

And I think I understand now why he left. I understand why he thought Chaos was my favorite. I understand that I showered Chaos with attention and that Quiet was hurt by my neglect.

I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t  notice the day Quiet packed his bags and left. I have plenty of excuses but I’m not sure they matter anymore.

I mean, sure, Chaos is gregarious and engaging, entertaining and enthusiastic, and he’s not inclined to judge my little people for so thoroughly rejecting modesty; Chaos is funny and he’s always doing something crazy that’ll make a good story later. Whereas Quiet? Not so much.

But it pains me now to think I never told Quiet while I had the chance that I value him just as much. His strength and silence. His poise. His calm. The unlikelihood he’d ever remove his soiled Superman underwear and twirl it above his head like a lasso before flinging it at my face and running away in delirious, naked joy.

So I stood on the porch on Saturday, and I wondered if it’s too late for Quiet and me. Have I done too much damage? Have I hurt our relationship irreparably?

Chaos came outside to stand beside me, wiggling his grimy hand into mine, and he winked at me and nodded. He knew what I was thinking, and he wanted me to know it’s OK; he’s not threatened by my love of Quiet. Chaos is sure of my devotion no matter how much I long for the wandering one. So I took a wild chance, and I called out to my parents to deliver a message.

I told my parents to tell Quiet hello.

I told them to tell Quiet that I miss him.

I told them to tell Quiet that I still love him, that I’ve never forgotten him, that I think about him all the time.

I told them to tell Quiet that there’s room for him and Chaos both. That I love them equally. That I’m sorry I didn’t show it. That I’d like to try again.

I asked them to let Quiet know he’s welcome anytime, and that I understand he’ll need some time to think about it. Maybe years and years.

It’s OK; I can wait for you, Quiet.

As long as it takes.

xoxo

……….

Does Quiet still live with you? If not, and if it’s not too personal, why not?
Have you ever welcomed Quiet back home? How did Chaos feel about that?
Have you found ways to live in harmony together? Without appearances of favoritism?
I just, you know, want to know it’s really possible.

……….

“Volume Knob” image credit to Salvatore Vuono via freedigitalimages.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
46 comments
  1. I’m afraid that Quiet and I are complete strangers. I think I may have passed him in the street sometime, but we’ve never actually spoken. I grew up in the bedroom next door to Chaos and got so used to him. I think when I moved out of home that Quiet must’ve been knocking on the front door while I was letting Chaos in the back. Now that I am more open to making new friends, I think Quiet is hesitant to approach because Chaos is sometimes so overwhelming and such an intrinsic part of my life. I hope that one day we can meet and be good friends, but for now, I’ll give him the time he so clearly needs.

  2. I, or more really my husband, realized that chaos was being a controlling beezy, so he suggested I meet up with quiet every morning before anyone gets up. It’s like a secret rendezvous for us both. He lets me drink my coffee peacefully (and hot!) and I bask in his sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, chaos, in the form of laundry and dishes and dusting still swirls all around us, but we just ignore it.

    Not sure if it’s possible for you, but I’m sure if you wanted to meet up, he’d see you even just once in the morning. 🙂

  3. Is it weird that this brought tears to my eyes? Because I so miss Quiet, too, but I know the day he comes back I will miss Chaos more.

    1. My eyes flooded a little too!

  4. I LOVED these responses times infinity. The perfect mix of wistful and hilarious. So glad you each took time to comment. Just awesome.

  5. I like Quiet a lot. I have a dicey relationship with Chaos. We have friends and associates who deal well with Chaos, but I prefer to observe this from afar. When I get caught up in chaos, i find it exhausting.

    However, I’m not sure which came first – my inability to deal well with chaos or my two girls who themselves are not too chaotic. They like their quiet too, and they go into their respective rooms to get it when then need alone time. I guess if I had chaotic kids I would have either built a better relationship with chaos, or I would never have grown so close to quiet.
    Does chaos or quiet result from genetic tendencies or from environment, or a mix of both?

  6. I don’t like quiet. quiet feels lonely and sad. I get more quiet than I want at work over the summer, I should send him your way.

  7. My home has been totally shunned by Quiet. Quiet and my 7 kids did not along AT. ALL.

    1. Quiet does seem to discriminate against large families.

  8. Quiet has basically avoided my house for a decade and a half now. But he does drop by during naptime, when threats keep Chaos at bay. (You know the kind: “You know how grumpy your brother is when he gets awakened from his nap when he isn’t ready yet; if you wake him up _you_ need to personally deal with him until bedtime!” Chaos, in the form of 4 older siblings, knows a solid threat when he hears one, and stays at bay, or takes himself to the playground around the corner.)

  9. Quiet comes to visit most nights between 8:30 and 10p. We sit, catch up on the latest family news and just appreciate each other for that spell. Sadly, my 3yr old twins are becoming night owls and it seems like Chaos is trying to take what little Quiet time away. Chaos is still young in our house. Trying to get completely potty trained and still making a mess out of everything. Chaos is trying to be so much older than he really is and I keep telling him to slow down, but Chaos doesn’t listen. Quiet listens. And he steps back, out of the limelight, not wanting to impede anyone’s progress. Quiet is such a strong little nurturer. I love them both so dearly, yet differently. I, too, shall mourn the days when Quiet doesn’t visit at all. I know that Quiet will be stepping aside those days to let Chaos run free and grow. And then when Chaos has matured and leaves me, Quiet shall gently step back into the limelight and hold my hand.

  10. I’m always a little annoyed when people visiting me and my 4 little Chaotic children leave the house and say how exhausted they are and how they are going to go home and take a nap or enjoy quiet. It’s like a big slap in the face telling me that. Of course I know my house is crazy and chaotic … but this is my family in this moment.

  11. We had an affair with Quiet this weekend… It may have meant hours of driving the Chaos to visit their mom, but coming home to Quiet…and Still…made it totally worth the trip. It was over way too fast.

  12. Chaos brings extremes: joy and stress, energy and anxiety. Quiet brings me back to center, balance, resting in the space of the moment. I have always needed both, but now that my triplets are almost two, I need to remind myself to make time for Quiet. I’m a better mama for it.

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