The kids and I went to see an orchestral performance of seasonal music set to the story of Polar Express. It felt geared towards a younger audience, to be sure, when the story was sung and included audience participation to ring the bell from our seats.
The years pass fast.
Lanie and Erin were near me, and I treasured what might be one of our last holiday trips to the orchestra. The shows for younger audiences, and my kids growing up.
It warmed my heart to hear the orchestra, my oldest sitting next to me. I fondly remembered all the years we'd gone downtown. Would this be the last?
Today, from my seat by the school room fire, reading for tomorrow's literature class, I can hear the television on in the living room. Erin has been camped out watching Christmas shows all day under the premise of belly aches.
"Polar Express is on again!" she said with a hint of disappointment. She kept it on anyway.
My dad showed up to drop off a gift for me. It was wrapped in Santa Claus wrapping paper. The label read, "To Courtney, From Santa. Do not open early."
"What's early?" I asked.
"Christmas Eve?" he countered.
I noticed his white hair. His hearing aids. His age. I took the gift from him, thankful.
I hugged him.
And he hugged me back.
The years pass fast. Even the lost ones.
After he left, I returned to my seat--my mind pensive and melancholic.
I could hear the cold call of a Christmas song from Polar Express. And later, the ringing of the silver bell.
My chest heavy, I wanted to cry. How I could feel so full of gratitude for the season, my father's visit, his gift, his hug, Santa paper, and my children next to me at a holiday performance--and yet wonder, sober and somber, on thoughts of last.