By eight o’clock this morning the house was empty. My adult children had departed to visit friends, and my husband had left for work. Coffee, which my husband and I don’t drink, scented the air from the haphazard breakfast I threw together as the human migration began. The silence seemed unfamiliar as I started straightening the remnants of our family Christmas. I tackled the kitchen first for that gives me a sense of accomplishment. The pile of dishes reminded me of earlier days when the kids were young and home every day. Funny how a person can miss what once seemed mundane.
Then I go into the living room and smile at the mess. Christmas tree needles cover the floor and carpet. How can it be so messy? Then I see Pudgy batting at lower branches and find my enlightenment. She breaks off a tiny branch and chases it around the room. More needles join the already deceased. I stack the tattered gift boxes for recycling and smoosh the remaining bits of wrapping paper into a bag. It was a good Christmas. My family gathered, laughed, ate, and told the stories that get told every year. Another Christmas is over and a new year is soon to come. The vacuum whirs over the popping needles and I feel fulfilled and blessed. It was the best part of my day.