All this Chicago mom wants is a noiseless New Year

I moved out of my childhood home at 23 years old. Taking advantage of the three percent down needed for first-time buyers, I purchased a tiny little studio in Lincoln Park. Many of my urban friends opted for roommates. They were constantly nagging me to check out the latest Chicago restaurants and clubs. I simply could not afford it. For me, it was Ramen Noodles and “Felicity.”

I could not have been happier.

I enjoy quiet. It is a sensory thing. As a kid, I used to hide in closets and read. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had actually been creating my own sensory deprivation tank. Noise and activity leave me agitated and cranky. The thought of solitary confinement as a punishment seemed silly. For seven years, I basked in living alone.

And then I got married and had children.

My entire central nervous system went into shock. The worst moments come when my husband watches television and the kids are being loud. Joe’s response is to turn up the volume. The kids’ response is to get even louder. I typically lose it and yell at the whole lot of them, threatening non-payment of the cable bill and immediate placement with gypsy families. My husband looks up with his innocent “WHAT?” face and I cannot fathom how we have been together this long and he still doesn’t understand how much I hate noise.

I really, really hate noise.

Needless to say, it has been a long winter break. Sporting events, parties, and cycles of kids in and out have left me mentally exhausted. Sprinkle on a little seasonal affective disorder, and it is remarkable the kids are getting a hot meal every night.

And by “hot meal,” I mean Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

But here’s the thing. I always remember the old story of the woman who complains to her husband for 50 years about not leaving his socks on the floor. When the old husband finally dies, the wife cries and admits that she would do anything to pick up those socks just one more time.

Theoretically, I am going to miss all this stinking noise one day.

In the meantime, if they call off school this week due to “extreme temperatures” and nobody can find me?

I’ll be in a closet.

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