There are a lot of strange noises in our house. Most of the time, we don't hear any of the noises during the day because there is a dull roar with our children running around. But at night, when the children are in bed sleeping, there have been many times Charlie and I have woken from a sound sleep because we've heard something unusual.
Most of the time, we can explain the noises. For example, sometimes the toilet will just start running in the hall bathroom. Or the wooden floors will creak. On gusty nights, the wind will rush through the soffits along our roof line and it makes the sound of something bumping around our attic. And every so often, tree branches will either scrape against our roof or snap off and fall, making a loud thumping noise in our yard.
But sometimes, there are sights and sounds that we just can't explain.
One night, we both woke up because we were certain we heard footsteps coming down the hall. The very next day, I was standing in the entry way and happened to see a shadow pass by the boys' room. I thought for sure that it was Charlie, inside the room, so I started to jabber on about something. When I didn't receive a response, I walked over to look in the room and was surprised to see that it was completely empty.
I found Charlie in the basement and I told him that it was very curious - I had just seen a shadow pass IN TO the boys' room and I thought for sure it was him and yet, the room was empty? How could that be? He didn't have an explanation or say much about it, probably because he didn't think much about it and thought I was hallucinating. But then, a few days later, he called me at work to say that when the kids were off at school, he, without a doubt, saw a shadow pass in to the boys' room and thought it was Henry. Until he realized that the room was empty and Henry was playing in an entirely different part of the house.
This really freaked Charlie out. And yet, it was comforting in some strange way, that he could collaborate my story.
A few months ago, just after we had painted the basement SUNBURST, and had started to rip up the orange carpet, we woke up when we thought for sure that we heard voices in our basement. Charlie was conveying this story to our neighbors one morning at the bus stop and they were intrigued. "Oh my gosh, what were the voices saying?!" they asked.
My husband, who knows when he's got someone hook line and sinker, dropped his voice a few octaves and said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY HOUSE?! GET ... OUT!!"
No, that's not really what we heard the voices saying. On the night it happened, we couldn't decipher anything, intelligible. But Charlie's version made a funny story, nonetheless.
With the exception of the noise I heard last week when Charlie was out of town that had me slightly terrified, we're not at all afraid and actually feel quite comfortable living here. I felt a good energy from the first time that we walked through this home and that feeling has only intensified since we've made it more our own.
Nonetheless, we talk a lot about Mr. S.
We imagine the life that he had here for almost 50 years, and we wonder what he would think about all the changes that we've made. We also wonder what he would think about his house being filled to the brink with small children. They make a joyful sound, but oh the noise - noise - noise.
We're currently in the process of replacing all the doors inside the house. It's been a huge undertaking that has consumed a tremendous amount of time and has involved us painting 17 door jambs with three coats of semi-gloss white. A few days ago, I was standing on a ladder painting the closet in the boys' room when something caught my eye on the very top shelf.
From what I understand, Mr. S was an avid golfer. He was a member of the local country club and played all the time. This sign is the type that they use to keep people quiet on the sidelines when the golfer is putting or trying to make an otherwise important shot.
At that very moment, when I was pulling the sign down off the shelf and reading the words for the first time, there was all kinds of noise in the house. The kids were running about, chasing each other, laughing. And there was noisy confusion in my mind as I was thinking about the next 20 things I had to do and whether or not I was prioritizing my efforts - MY LIFE - appropriately?
That whole thinking about "what's next?" is a very bad habit that I have. Even when the house is quiet and the children are in bed sleeping, my mind is always going. So while I know that this sign is used for golf, it's a good reminder to find quiet amidst the chaos. It's certainly not very often that I give myself an opportunity to take quiet moments and reflect. And yet, if I could just find a way to quiet my mind, I'm absolutely certain answers I can't find in the daily rush of life will come flooding to me...
I think Oogway, the turtle in Kung Fu Panda said it best: "Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agited, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear."
I believe that this house was meant for us. I also believe that there is a good energy that resides here, in addition to the six good spirits that are living here, now. But most of all, I believe that this sign was more for Charlie and I - than it was for our children who make so much noise on any given day, they could undoubtedly raise the dead. It really is quite humorous to me, that a family with kindergarten aged triplets plus a preschooler would move in to the house where a 90-year old man lived, alone, for the past several years and find a sign like this.
I feel like it was a housewarming gift, left for us by the good Mr. S.
So we are reminded of this important message daily, we're going to hang it in our breakfast nook.