As much as I talk whine about how too much noise disturbs my inner peace and all that meditative woo-woo yoga jazz, recently my life has been all about noise.  I’m shocked and gratified to find I’m serenely happy in this blaringly loud world.  For now, at least, extensive exterior clatter is translating into peaceful interior contentment.

My former brother-in-law (FBIL) and his son, the world’s most adorable nephew (I double-dog dare anyone to challenge that statement), are visiting for a few days.  From the moment they arrived last night, instant extreme noisiness was a given. Whenever this family gets together, the activity never, ever stops, not even for a moment.  We are, me included, one high-energy bunch.

At least three lively conversations were conducted simultaneously, the volume level ratcheting higher, the speed level increasing as all talkers competed to be heard above the din.  Mix in high-pitched children’s laughter, insistently yowling, attention-seeking cats, bouncing balls, the thud of darts hitting the board and you’ve got the recipe for a potentially major headache.

But for some reason, I’m thoroughly enjoying the crazy mixed-up soup this time.  I even managed to keep up, barely, with my nephew during enthusiastic, seriously in-depth discussions about Pokémon characters and their respective super-powers.  Fortunately, I can draw upon memories from almost a decade ago, when Pikachu and Ash Ketchum ruled Brainiac’s (and therefore, my) world.

Nephew and I moved our discussion to the piano, where he entertained me by performing Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt.  When I expressed my delight over my nephew’s musical selection, impressed that he knew Grieg, he snickered merrily.  “Oh, Aunt [kimwolhee],” my nephew laughed.  “Don’t you know that’s the theme song from Sonic [the Hedgehog]?”

So much for Grieg.  Apparently, this piece has been appropriated by an animated, spiky-haired blue character not found in nature.

I am definitely feeling my age.

Of course, there was the epic basketball challenge (Nephew won), followed by a massive pizza, garlic sticks and brownie infusion.  Dizzy and lost in a starch- and sugar-induced coma, I finally settled in to visit with FBIL while the kids flopped in front of the television to watch the hockey playoffs.

FBIL and I share a warm and wonderful relationship; we always have. I cherish the email he sent to me shortly after The Ex and I divorced, one in which he spoke of family and friendship.  He began by stating that one’s true family is created by choice, from the heart, and not by accident of birth or marriage.  He ended by promising that I would always be family to him, that I would never lose his friendship, no matter what transpired between The Ex and me.  For reaching out to me, shining an unexpected bright light during a very dark and dim time, I will always adore him.

I confide in FBIL about almost everything; he’s my go-to neutral male perspective.  Like me, he slogged through a rough emotional period post-divorce, trying to find his bearings, falling in love with people not right (or not good) for him along the way.  He worked hard to become self-aware and healthy and he’s reaping the well-earned rewards: today he’s calm, happy, well-adjusted and ensconced in a comfortable, passionate, drama-free new relationship.  He’s my inspiration that one day I’ll find my own balance, sanity and strength.

And so, bring on the noise, the joyful noise of a cheerful household.  To paraphrase a popular fast food giant’s slogan: I’m lovin’ it.