It’s quiet in my house now. I am reminded of a beautiful piece of Max Lucado’s called Christmas Night, in which the narrator is sitting in a still house after the flurry of Christmas day has subsided.
The last days have been a whirlwind. Sometimes quite literally.
Monday, my dad had surgery, and my mom, sisters and I stayed in a hotel near the hospital. He was supposed to be released on Tuesday, but there were some minor concerns about red blood cells not multiplying like they should and so the hospital decided to keep him one more night. My mom sent my sisters and me home and she stayed the night on the couch in my dad’s hospital room. (She didn’t know that was allowed, hence the hotel. But I think it worked out: we got to see him without having to take an hour drive each way every time.)
So, at home, we decorated the cookies and I made my chocolate peppermint ones (which I am getting quite good at). I spent a good part of the afternoon looking out the window after getting indications that Hannah was intending to stop by, but she never came. After several hours of silence she said, “Sorry about earlier, I got distracted.” I expressed that the invitation was still open, and clearer still she indicated she might appear. Then – silence. Nothing.
I wrote this about it:
On the second night my father had to spend in the hospital I sat on my back porch and cried about fathers with cancer and stressed mothers and sisters who developed a relationship you didn’t understand while you were away at school and friends who didn’t come when they said they would or tell you why you weren’t important and boys who kissed you in summer and flirted in fall only to leave you to discover the beginning of their new relationship on Facebook two weeks after it happened. I sobbed and hiccuped and ranted at the darkness.
When I calmed down I let the dog out and made her sit and look at the stars with me. Everything felt smaller and colder and cleaner.
Finally I went back in the house and got a glass of milk and stared at my father’s bookshelves for ten minutes before stealing his copy of A Farewell to Arms. I went downstairs again to sit in front of the Christmas tree and read. Nine chapters in I felt better and went to bed.
I was in line at the grocery store the next morning when my mom’s text came in. “We r coming home!” I tripped on air all the way down the parking lot.
That night was Christmas Eve and my sisters and I went to my grandparents’ to be with family. My parents got home while we were gone. Around 5 p.m. my grandfather said he thought it would snow before the night was over; by 7:30 we looked outside and discovered he was right. We loaded the piano in blustery cold and I sang “White Christmas” all the way back up the walk.
On top of the sudden wonderful snowfall a ripping wind blew in. It was nine p.m. and my sisters and I were back home (hugging wildly and telling stories and showing off the cookies we had so carefully decorated) with my parents when we lost power. We lit candles. Snow fell. Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Christmas night I drank about a third of a glass of champagne (choked violently on the third swallow) and tried to finish A Farewell to Arms, but I only ended up talking to everyone around me.
My dad came home for a white Christmas. I have never been so content. God is good.