Friday, December 25, 2015

Silence Isn’t Always Golden
            When I woke this morning still tucked beneath my blankets and warm and I lay there in the darkness, the house seemed unnaturally quiet. It was Christmas morning and there were no children and no wife to chase the silence away with laughter and excitement. It was just me and the cat, Willow.
            When my wife Cindy was alive, she was so much more eager to get at the presents that were wrapped and were circling the Christmas tree, like pioneers’ wagons warding off an Indian attack. Many times we’d gotten to bed after wrapping those gifts only a few hours before, but that didn’t matter. She was more excited that the kids. If they hadn’t wakened by five a.m., she’d sing and bang into walls or find some way to make loud noises to arouse the sleeping children.
            It wouldn’t be long until the squeals of delight of our kids saying, “It’s Christmas. It’s Christmas,” would join with ours. Amanda, Andrew, and Anna would head into the living room to find that the Christmas tree lights were lit and many times, there would be some kind of Christmas music playing.
            The first things to be emptied were the stockings. Every small gift inside had to be wrapped in bright paper. It was a flurry of paper bits until every treasure had been discovered. Once that was accomplished, Cindy would distribute the gifts until each child had a stack of gifts piled beside them. It was time to unwrap. Again the blizzard of shredded paper filled the air.
            One thing that we did learn was to place all wrapped clothing into large white trash bags secured with a bow. When the kids finished opening toys and other gifts and the discarded paper wrapping was gathered, they could open their bags of clothing to see what was lurking inside. It was easier and safer to do this with the “unexciting” clothes than to search the mountain of paper bits looking for socks or underwear.
            This morning, the tree is lit and gifts still surround the tree, but the silent anticipation of the family coming to my house has replaced the explosion of excitement of Christmas morning.

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