It is December 26th. There is a hush over our house. My husband is asleep, and our cat, Henry, is curled up at the foot of the bed.
I have just made a brief tour of the wreckage that was Christmas Day, 2004. There are bits of raffia scattered all over the kitchen counter and strewn throughout the house. Pieces of red and green wrapping paper and bits of shiny ribbon no bigger than a thumbnail are distributed everywhere. Our coffee table is littered with melted-down candles of every size and description, and there are rings of purple on the blond wood from last night’s wine glasses. Unwrapped gifts are now placed haphazardly under our tree, which has dried out quite a bit since we first brought it home. We ourselves are happily worn-out and sloppy. I think we probably both gained a pound or two from all the holiday candy, cakes and cookies, which were showered down upon us like manna from heaven.
Outside, I can hear the world moving on. There are trucks and cars already out on the freeway shushing along, although the sun is barely up on this Sunday morning. I wonder where can they possibly be going. But then, I realize that there are people whose lives don’t go on hold just because of the holidays – hospital workers, convenience store clerks, news anchors, the people who magically appear to take your order when you’re just too blown out to cook breakfast.
Today I will slowly regain my equilibrium. At a leisurely pace, I will sweep, vacuum and scrub the floors, wipe the counters, put away the wrapping paper, discard the used candles, clean the glass rings from the coffee table, change the sheets, change the kitty litter, water the Christmas tree and all the other dried-out houseplants, and do the laundry which has been completely neglected for the past week.
It feels as though I’ve been on a merry-go-round for the past month and a half. Time to slow down, breathe, put away the party hats, and get ready for the coming new year. It feels very good, returning to normal, after all the hoopla.
Yesterday my Christmas prayer was for peace. For now, in this house, at least, my prayer has been answered.
© 2004, Robin Munson