My favorite books have usually centered around living a quiet life at home. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Grace Livingston Hill, Grace Richmond, Sydney Taylor (author of the All-of-a-Kind Family books) and Maud Heart Lovelace (author of the Betsy-Tacy books) all write stories about home life and the relationships of the home. While the characters may go here and there at times, most of the story revolves around the home.
While some people read to escape to places and people and events they can never experience in real life, I read to be encouraged and strengthened in my desire for a cozy, homey life.
Our Idea of a Quiet Life
David and I live a pretty quiet life. We live this way by choice. We thoroughly enjoy being at home. Our idea of a good time is sitting together in our wingback chairs, a candle and small lamp lit between us, watching something we love and own on DVD while eating a warm homemade meal that consists of some kind of comfort food such as soup. We follow that with a good cup of coffee and something sweet. (The only thing missing is a crackling fire in a fireplace. It is my prayer that God will allow us that little dream in our next home.) It truly doesn’t take a whole lot to make us happy.
I’ve been thinking about this as it relates to Caroline. She has lived a pretty quiet existence so far. I remember one time when I was in my third trimester, we stopped to have lunch after a doctor’s appointment that ran long. It was very busy and LOUD. Did she ever bounce around in there! Caroline was so accustomed to our quiet home with quiet music, quiet voices, etc. that being someplace so loud really agitated her. Even now when we absolutely have to take her to the mall or the store, we try to go at a slow time so it will be relatively quiet and not quite so overwhelming.
The Challenges of Living a Quiet Life
But that’s one of the cons of living a quiet life – you are slowly resensitized to noise and motion. It is difficult to go out among the hustle and bustle. Being with a larger group of people where it is noisy confusion can be overwhelming.
We’ve experienced this by staying home and then going to a busy mall. We’ve experienced this at the movies. We’ve experienced it at parties. On the expressway. We’ve experienced it by going to a quiet cottage up north for a week and then driving home to the city. Because we are not desensitized to the noise and speed of life in our culture, we notice it very quickly when we are put in those kinds of situations. And not only do we notice it, we also have to find ways to cope with it because it is not our natural way of living.
One of the other “downsides” to living a quiet life is that it is often misunderstood. People think that you are selfish, that you don’t care about (insert whatever it is here), or that you are just, well, weird. I struggle with knowing people judge us because we don’t go here and there.
A Quiet Life for Baby
Especially now with Caroline, we are even more selective about when and where we go. She can generally miss one nap and do okay. But if she misses two in a day, she’s an unhappy little girl. For that reason, we have chosen to adjust our plans to her needs. For example, we attend the morning service at church right now, but that is it. (This choice is also influenced by our view that Sunday is a day of rest, but that’s another post.) Someday she may be able to better cope with a busier Sunday, but right now she’s only sixteen weeks old (today!) and we’re making this choice in her best interest.
In fact, I would guess one of the reasons Caroline is such a happy and easygoing baby is perhaps because she’s lived such a quiet life both in the womb and in our home. She isn’t overstimulated (except when Daddy gets too excited when playing with her!). She doesn’t have to cope with constant change, lots of people, and too much stimuli. She can just enjoy being a baby.
I struggle with the idea that we somehow need to “desensitize” Caroline so she can cope with living in our culture. I’ve said before on my blog that I don’t want her to grow up naive to the point that it is used against her and to her harm, but nor am I in any hurry for her to be five going on twelve. I anticipate it will be a struggle for David and me to find the balance between getting her out and about in the world and giving her the joy of a peaceful, quiet and – may I dare say it – idyllic childhood.