Oh, Silent Night (but not too silent, please)
There. That’s my opening salvo regarding that dreaded annual list. While I don’t hold much to New Year’s resolutions as for the most part they are wholly ineffective and end up discarded like so much crumpled up wrapping paper, this would be one that I could get behind.
My half of the family tree, you see, resides 850 miles away. We made the trek last year with Mr. Schrock (a.k.a. Dale, Jr.) and the pit crew leading the charge. Knowing that next year the Schrock half of the tree would be heading for the hills (make that the mountains) of Tennessee, we decided to stay put this year and to keep it low key.
As the Schrock hoo-ha was a fait accompli by the end of November, that left us free and clear to actually discover the meaning of that old Christmas carol, “Silent Night.” Well, silence is a relative term in a household of four boys who are brimming with Christmas spirit, but you know what I mean.
My stated intent from the get-go was that this would be Jammie Town over here, starting with our traditional slumber party on Christmas Eve. Mission accomplished. It was Pajama Town, alright, population six.
With a stack of movies, the annual Subway platter, and a raft of other goodies, we hopped into our PJs and went kerplunk here, here, here, and over there. Four movies, innumerable snacks, and four stockings later, we headed for bed, feeling festive and happy as clams, the early-morning hour not withstanding.
When you’re tied to three or four different schedules year round, having the freedom to sleep in with no one leaving the premises seems like pure, unadulterated luxury. Follow that sleep-in with an enormous, herb-rubbed turkey; mashed potatoes and gravy; and three different kinds of pie, and you realize that this is how life was meant to be lived.
Oh, and did I mention that we were still in our jammies?
It wasn’t until Christmas night that we finally rediscovered our street clothes and went to spend some time with a few other family members who were also around for the holidays. Then it was home again, home again, jiggity-jog to hop back into our you-know-whats and to get back to work on that stack of movies.
Saturday, it was more of the same. Movies, lounging, snacks, and leftovers, only breaking the cycle to exchange those PJs for a fresh set.
By Saturday evening, I told Mr. Schrock that we were so relaxed, I didn’t see how we were ever going to be able to slither out of bed come Monday morning and head back to our respective jobs. He grimaced and then proceeded to announce one of our semiannual meetings of the Krispy Kreme Club to be held the next morning.
Yippee!! As we are charter members and their number one fans, we experienced a miraculous infusion of the giddy-up necessary to head to Mishawaka over the snow-packed roads, and we made our way (sans Braves One and Two) to our local headquarters.
I say sans braves because, after one more scuffle over who got which toothpaste tube, those two departed in the predawn darkness for the youth group’s annual winter retreat with B1 going as a junior high leader and B2 going as himself, a senior high kid.
It hit me as we were galloping toward the doughnut store that if God hadn’t sent our surprise package three years ago (the little papoose), it would’ve just been the Chief and I with B3 making the trek to parts west. How quiet…
I said as much to the tribe as I sat sipping coffee while they drank their chocolate. There he sat, the little surprise gift, blue eyes shining, mouth encrusted with sugar from the two doughnuts he had going simultaneously. “Thank you for coming!” I said to him.
“You’re welcome,” he said in a matter of fact tone, and went back to chewing the sprinkles off the top.
Tonight it will be even quieter. B3 will be gone overnight at a friend’s house. If it weren’t for B4, we would have our first brush with an empty nest. That’s a cold wind blowing for sure, and I’m not ready for it.
So today, right now, I’m thankful that there will be at least some noise on this all-too-silent night. I’m thankful for days in our jammies. I’m happy that we watched way too many movies, that we stayed up way too late and ate far too much. I’m thrilled that for one more year, we were all together, healthy and happy, just we six.
I’m thankful (I am!) for the magic of ‘silent nights’ that aren’t actually very silent at all, because I know that one day they will be.
Happy New Year!