The kids have gone home to Texas, taking their children with them. No more playing board games until 1 or 2am. No more figuring out meals for eleven or trying to decide what to do to entertain them all. The well-chewed doorstops are now safely back on the doors. The sticks can go back to being sticks instead of whacking swords.
The groaning school kids went back to Seminary and school today, dragging their backpacks behind them.
Today the silence is potent. I keep looking over my shoulder to see if someone is getting into something and hiding under the table to eat it. There's probably still part of a chewed candy cane under there somewhere that'll need to be chipped off with a chisel.
Now I have the chance to contemplate the mistakes I made and the things I wish I'd done better. I have the time to sit back and think about the things I've let slip through my fingers in pursuit of others not-so-worthwhile. It can be a bit of a burning sensation sometimes when I remember the Christmas cards and presents I haven't sent yet, or the people I've not visited. When I think of the times I made fun of my son or badmouthed my daughter I get the mental hives. Those things were on that little slip of paper.
So now I need to make right what I can and lay aside what I can't. After all, it's already gone up in flames. More than that, Christ has already paid for the pain and mistakes I've made. Now I need to finish the process.
Happy Three Kings Day.