One minute I’m whirling through complete chaos. A chattering 5-year-old messily slurping Lucky Charms, a 3-year-old giving most of the sausage and eggs he demanded instead of cereal to the two enormous black labs constantly underfoot, claws forever tap-tapping/scratch-scratching the hardwood floor as they angle for table scraps, and a 5-month-old fussing from his seat in the corner of the small kitchen in the home I rented upon deciding to separate from their dad.
Ten minutes later I sit alone in absolute silence. Dad came and went, taking the chaos with him. The immediate relief of having ushered three children from bed to breakfast and beyond quickly dissipates to loneliness. I helped him buckle them into his car, said double and triple goodbyes then stood in my yard dramatically blowing kisses and waving wildly at sweet faces barely visible in the backseat until I could no longer see the car. Now, the sound of silence is louder than any screaming or crying that occurred in the 24 hours that preceded it.