For the quiet moments.

Christmas Eve always meant church to me - my father directing half an hour of music to start, then the opulent service, with incense and a hundred different perfumes, with white wax tapers, with singing and kneeling and rejoicing. But the best parts came after - spilling out of the church at one in the morning with the giggly choristers, my dad doing silly dances, otterbein cookies and eggnog spiked with pikesville rye with my grandparents. Walking our white standard poodle in the dark, fat flakes of snow dampening his curled fur. Christmas was light and sound, but it was also silence, darkness, stillness in the night.

I miss that. The quiet. Grandpere is gone, and Dad too, and Grandmere is hundreds of miles from me. I’m with new family now, and I love them. But here, when Christmas is minutes away, I feel more than ever that serenity has incredible value. It doesn’t have to come with church, or cookies, or rye whiskey, but it comes for me, here in a strange bed, in the moments before I can sleep.

Merry Christmas, to those of you who celebrate. Please take this space, if you’d like to, to experience stillness, memory, regrets, joy, and peace.