The silence in my living room at 6:30 a.m. on the Monday before all of my children and grandchildren land on my doorstep for the holidays is so sweet. "Not a creature is stirring" is music to my ears. I'm not an introvert by any means, and thoroughly enjoy the company of people, lively conversation, and gay celebration.
However during my six year stay in the convent, I awoke daily to silent communication with my God through prayer and meditation. I loved that time more than any other part of the day and still begin every morning in much the same manner. It brings a peaceful calm to my body, mind and soul. Everything ahead of me for the next twenty-four hours comes into focus, and a plan to navigate each step evolves without much conscious effort on my part.. I know there will be deviations from said plan, but I'm fortified with God's grace to handle whatever causes chaos and discord.
There will be 15 people in our home for four or five days and usually some of the kids will be up and at it before I come down the stairs with Shadow. They will be either blasting the television or bickering about something. As soon as one of them spies me, they'll shout my name, and with grins as wide as the ocean, all start chattering at once. Gabe needs breakfast, Liam and Beckham are squabbling about who goes first in Trouble , and my dear Brenna, will rush to present the dog with her first treat of the day.
Although there will be absolutely no time for my cherished routine, having family around and being needed even for the simplest of tasks, is definitely a worthwhile replacement for a short span of time. After quickly getting everybody dressed, we rush out the door before any of the adults can stop us, and load into my daughter's van. I rev up the motor and head for our traditional Dunkin Donuts breakfast. First they all must have a sandwich before any goodies are selected. I order the same thing for everybody as they move tables together to accommodate all eight of us. As each one gobbles down their obligatory egg wrap, they are given my credit card and approach the counter to order a donut and drink of their choice. Surprisingly for this healthy, rambunctious bunch, the process goes off without a hitch. If they finish one and are still hungry, they are permitted a second. Of course you know how that goes so I needn't bother you with the specifics. On the way home, everyone is talking at the same time about what we're going to do and when we're going to do it.
This year our schedule includes: snow tubing, trampolining, ice skating, the movies, laser tag, and a trip to King's for ice cream. There will be little to no time for prayer and meditation for yours truly.
I treasure my silence and will yearn for it's return with all my heart. But I also treasure my time with family, especially my seven grandchildren, They are growing up so fast, and since they all live out of state, I don't see them as much as I'd like. So when they're here, bring on the noise, the chatter, and the chaos! Bring on the hustle, the bustle, and the wild scenario of events. I'm grateful that at my age I can still do almost everything they want to do, and for the most part, can keep up with them. I'm especially grateful that they really and truly want me to be there with them every step of the way.
As they all load up and head for their respective homes on the 29th, my hubby and I, and of course, Shadow, will wave good-bye and breathe a sigh of both sadness and relief!
Farewell to family, and hello to my precious silence that seems to have been absent for a very long time!