The empty nest, that is.
While it is my favorite time of the year for friends and family, meals and drinks and gatherings, this year is very different than all the rest. This year I do not work Christmas morning. Only the fourth time in twenty one years that has happened.
This year I won't worry about rushing home from work as soon as I can after punching the clock. I will not quietly open the front door or step lightly down the hall avoiding the dog sleeping by the bedroom doors. This year there will be no delighted little ones scurrying to the fireplace to dive in to the goodies in their stockings. Actually those "little ones" haven't been around for years, but it's a pleasant thought anyway. This year I can sleep in if I want to, which I don't. This year it will be just me and Mrs. Farfromgruvin.
The morning will be quiet. We'll have the Christmas music on. The fresh, piping hot pot of coffee will be brewing in the kitchen spilling it's fragrant aroma throughout the house. Maybe there will be cinnamon rolls in the oven or eggs on the stove. Slices of cranberry orange bread on the table with a selection of jams and jellies. The tree with it's warm glow in the early daylight will complete the scene. Everything will be perfect. Perfect except for the absence of our kids.
Both son and daughter are out on their own now. Both starting new lives as independent adults. Doing the daily adult routines, working, paying bills, cooking meals (maybe not that one!). No matter the age they will always be "the kids".
It's been a sobering month. The realization that "the kids" will never again jump out of bed and scramble into the living room to see what Santa brought them has dampened spirits in the household. Not soaked, only dampened. There are still nice plans for Christmas dinner with my folks. My brother-in-law and his girls are coming as well. My son should be there for a short stay. He says he has plans with friends and can't stay too long. My daughter will be in Los Angeles with her fiance's family. In the end, it will still be a wonderful and memorable Christmas. They always are.