“I can’t take the loud thumping anymore! Honey, please, we’ve got to do something about that! We’ve either got to call the office in the morning and complain, or we march upstairs to say something to them! But this has to stop!”
From the floor above it came, incessant, nerve wracking, enough to drive one mad!
On and on it went: movement of heavy feet; doors and drawers closing loudly; and the pitter-patter of little feet running, back and forth, from one end of the apartment to the other... EVERY NIGHT!
We’ve recently moved in to a new apartment, sandwiched between the first and third floors. And for the first few nights it was blissfully quiet. Suddenly there it was…the thumping and stomping, all manners of sounds. New tenants had just moved in. My husband and I grumbled to one another, every night we threatened to do something about it—even contemplated banging on the ceiling with a broom or mop. But we just couldn’t bring ourselves to actually do it, or step out to complain. We were not the kind of people to easily make a fuss. Sigh. Apartment living is relatively new to us.
So there we were, trapped between two floors, irritated by the loud sounds and noises. And always the same time, like clockwork—in the evenings, starting at 8:00 and continuing through 10:10. Ah…quiet! And then, after a few days, the banging on the floor and the pitter-patter of little feet began to stretch out to 11:00!
Oh, for goodness sakes… Are you kidding me!? How late do you put the kid to bed?
After two nights of this new schedule from upstairs we decided, tomorrow, tomorrow would be the day to march into the office and complain. But tomorrow was when we ran into the family from above; they were coming down the stairs: mother and father, a teenage brother, and a small child, roughly two years of age (same age as our granddaughter). The father, a sweet, sedate-looking man, smiled at me, and then said a very friendly and sincere Hello! My heart sank to my stomach.
In those few, short moments, memories of when I was a young mommy of an infant and a growing, crawling toddler came flooding to the surface. I was saturated with compassion, and, yes, shame too. Too, I also immediately thought of what my youngest daughter, now a mommy of a two-year old, has gone through, also living in an apartment. I suddenly remembered my child’s screaming fits; I remembered the stomping and the running, and talking loudly; I remembered it all.
Would you believe that today my husband and I hear the sounds from above us as white noise? The “noises” do eventually stop because their child will eventually go to bed and sleep. I will also at times hear their little child crying, perhaps he is sick, or having a bad dream. But I can now hear those sounds and smile, picturing the mother, most assuredly tired, having to get up to comfort her child back to sleep. And then I, too, allow myself to fall back to restful sleep.
We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)