Some sounds are synonymous with the winter holidays.
There’s the ripping of paper as gifts are opened. The clank of silverware as family members celebrate over a special meal. There are the jingle and tinkle of sleigh bells and jingle bells and the anticipatory countdown to the new year.
Likewise, some sounds are synonymous with having teenagers home over winter break. Whether they’re home from college, or just home during the day, our teens make distinct sounds that tell the story of what it means to have them at home through the holiday break.
First there is the silence. The blessed early morning silence as they slumber in their beds.
But too much silence bothers me, especially as the clock moves closer to noon. Get up, I plead in my mind. I want to see you and be in the same room with you. Winter break is short and while I like the silence, I also want to spend this time together.
Then there is the sound of bickering. Little digs between my two teens about who is smarter, who did this, or who did that. Sometimes it is light and all in fun. Other times there is a hint of sharpness, which leads to tears or yelling.
Sigh. Can’t they just love each other? Don’t they know they won’t be under the same roof forever?
I prefer, of course, the sound of laughter. They roar at inside jokes that no one outside our family would understand. They giggle at the silly holiday movies we watch every year. They laugh while trying to beat each other at the same board games we only get to play at this time of year.
Winter break gives us so much more time for simple joy and laughter.
Then there’s the sound of talking. From my son, while he plays a video game in the other room. Headset on and flingers flying over the controller, he talks, yells, and cheers with his friends who are playing along at their own homes.
From my daughter, while she talks to her friends on her phone as they use the latest social apps to show each other their favorite gifts. Sometimes they just chat about the same nothingness I used to talk about on the phone with my teenage friends so many years ago.
My teens talk to me, too, over winter break. Mom, what are we doing today? Mom, can I go bowling with Joe? Mom, do you have any money you can give me for the movies? My ride’s here. Bye, Mom!
Which leads to another sound synonymous with teens at home over winter break: the sound of the front door opening and closing as they come and go. This is similar to the sound of the garage door opening and closing as they come and go—or when they’re reminded to take out the trash and recycling.
Which usually prompts the sound of their complaints about taking out the trash and recycling.
But if I could choose my favorite sound of having teens at home over winter break, it would be the quietest, most peaceful sound of all.
It is the sound of us together, warm and cozy and lounging in the same room, maybe scrolling through our phones. The fireplace is on and there is usually a movie on TV. There is little or no talking.
This is the sound of me and my teens gathered together at home. The sound of comfort and contentment with the ones I love.
It is the best winter break sound a mom of teens can hear.