The days are short and the nights shorter still. The tree is dead and slowly drying. Bottles of wine come in one door and out the other. The shopping is hung by the chimney with care. Sugarplums dance for dollars and whisper sweet things to those that long to hear them. My wallet, the victim of yuletide vampires, turned to dust in the morning sun. Receipts fell like ash and snow.
The boys are quick to give and quicker to receive. They are fast with patience. They kill suspense with sticks and stones. The fight is sudden and seldom fair. Between their laughs fit so many cookies.
They are their own Advent calendar. Each new day opens like arms.
Holidays are extreme in their excess. It is not just the too many gifts, for the happiness is grander, the sadness all the sadder, and the music of a thousand elevators is pumping through my stereo. My kids deserve everything, and there are those who need it so much more.
We spread joy as thin as we can.
The tree is a time machine. It is a wormhole to Christmas future and Christmases past. Each twinkle of light a star dashing by. Each ornament a moment on a string. There is a glow and bits of reflection, and in the pieces of glass there I stand: I am a man, a boy, a father, a son. The tree is strung with memories and those that we are making. I forget myself for wonder. The whiskey warms me like a fire. Their songs I’m softly singing.
The boys sleep where they fall. I carry them through the night and place them all snug in their beds. When they wake in the morning it will be where they always are, safe and sound, and one day closer to missing the wait. One day closer to it beginning again. They will want hugs and breakfast.
These are a few of my favorite things. I wrap them tight in brown paper and time.