The decorations have been taken off the tree and packed away in tissue-lined boxes. The 9-feet-tall artificial tree has been dragged to the curb, with a sign reading freebie, gently used. We have decided that we are getting too old to wrestle with assembling all the pieces, fluffing out all the branches, and stringing all the lights; our next tree will be smaller and pre-lit.
Sitting in my office as I noodle around on my computer, I am listening to the sound of fire works being launched by the people who live across the street from us. Last night the street was lined with bottle rockets and the windows rattled as gunpowder-filled canisters exploded in the dark midnight sky, but tonight it sounds like they are shooting off zippers that end their flights with little pops. We used to shoot off fireworks with our children when they were young, and then with Teaghan (Marijke has never liked firework holidays) until she grew up and went off to college. The other "granddots" live in far away states and while they were here for Christmas, they spent New Year's Eve at their own homes while we had dinner with our best friends and spent the evening lamenting the soon to be inaugurated 45th president, Donald J. Trump.
2017 promises to be an anxious year. When the President-elect takes to Twitter to wish his friends and enemies a Happy New Year, one has to take a moment to lift a small pleading for peace and protection.