Yesterday I went for a Christmas morning walk. The “kids,” one about to leave his twenties and the other halfway through, could not make it home. COVID restrictions. I met a couple pushing a stroller and stopped them briefly, learning it was their daughter’s second Christmas. I talked longer to a neighbor whose two sons, three and five, remind me so much of my own boys at that age.
Those things combined to make me nostalgic. Perhaps empty nest syndrome comes in waves. The first wave when they go away to college. The next when they get jobs and more permanent living arrangements. Home both is and is no longer “home.”
So I set out my mother’s ceramic Santa and decorate the tree with paper ornaments the boys made at preschool. I make a pot of tea and sit with my memories, both warm and bittersweet.