Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Morning After


I had a piece of whole wheat toast this morning with a skim coat of peanut butter--my standard breakfast. But yesterday about this time, I was making pumpkin french toast and gingerbread chai lattes for a last salute to the holidays before my daughter headed back to Syracuse. She had been home for two and a half weeks--almost long enough to fool me into believing she was living here again. Her time at home included big events like Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, but just as important, if not more so, were all the little events: watching movies, playing games, lingering at the dinner table, leaving a light on when we go to bed, and seeing her bedroom door closed when we get up in the morning. Those are the things I think about on the morning after when the house is feeling big and empty again. There's no lack of things to keep me busy: I am behind on schoolwork, I need to put away the last of the Christmas decorations, there's laundry to do, snow to shovel, errands to run. But I having trouble attacking my to-do list. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, but I feel dark and heavy inside. Up until this morning, I have been busily pushing away a little nagging thought that this may well have been the last Christmas break that one of my kids was home for the holidays. My oldest  child lives in town, and we see him often, but the only night he slept here over the break was Christmas eve. My middle child didn't make it home until the day after Christmas this year and was only here for a wonderful but all-too-brief weekend. In between the times my kids are here, I think I'm getting used to the new normal. But then when one or two or, best of all, all three of them are home, I realize anew how much I've been missing them and the days when all five of us were living here. I know those days are gone, and I'm so very lucky I see my kids as often as I do. But it's hard to go back to plain old toast after feasting on pumpkin spice and gingerbread!

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