A thousand years have passed since mid-December, the last time I sat here in this quiet living room. I love this time here, bleak January, the grey world outside sliding into the dark of winter while in front of me the cozy fire pops and dances like a long-lost friend. It seems a lifetime, yes, and at the same time it has been merely an instance, this holiday, passed in the blink of an eye.
Just yesterday, I swear, I waited anxiously for her car to pull into the driveway.
You’re here my sweet girl. Now Christmas can begin.
I said it to Eliza, just as my mother said it to me year after year after year when I made my way back home to Virginia. Like me, Eliza dropped her bags on the kitchen floor and rolled her eyes. And so I smiled, knowing deep in my bones how much I meant it, knowing now how intensely my mother meant it each of those many years.
And begin it did, the whirlwind that was this year’s holiday season.
First, five days in New York.
Christmas Eve. The sun comes out!
Thursday, time to head home.
Friday. To Florida to visit Dad!
Monday, home again. To this.
No one would chance being around me. No one, that is, but Little Bit.
But I did survive. And the Tigers won!
And on the very last night, there was this.
And just like that Eliza is gone again, the holiday break from college over, real life back in session. My heart ached as I watched her back out of the driveway, knowing when I turned back toward the kitchen the quiet would have come again.
But then, I remembered, it is January. My favorite month* of the year.