The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It wasn’t really a good day the way it started out.  Noah has had some sort of allergic reaction for the last couple days.  Nothing that made his face swell up or anything, but a horrible, red rash that made his cheeks look like WC Fields.  My day started with consoling him that he’d be okay and took him to school.

But that led to a day of the car being nearly empty, missing my first train out to work and getting a ticket on said train because I actually had forgotten my pass on the endtable by my bed.  I managed to get a bunch of work done and turn the day around only to have to head home early because the rash had come back with a vengeance.  It’s almost like hives . . . almost like he’d eaten something that caused him to react.

So I got home, put some more prescription cream on his little arms and cheeks and gave him a Benadryl.  It should have been the end of the day.

But . . . it wasn’t.  This was also my kids’ Christmas play night.

Of course it was.

Kids right after the play
Kids right after the play

You’d think that would stress me out.  In the last few years the Christmas play had been a source of constant consternation for our household.  Andrea had gotten to the point her knees hurt so bad that she couldn’t walk very well.  If we didn’t get to the play at least 40 minutes early there were no seats.  If you had known my wife at all you would realize that there was no feasible way that we’d get anywhere early . . . we were lucky if we were only a few minutes late.  So standing at the back of a church to watch the play wasn’t something that she would have been able to do.  I was in a catch-22.  I’d save a seat if I got there first – which happened a lot – we might get a seat.

Tonight, though, the boys were dressed.  Hannah stayed at the Extended Day Program and was already at the church in her costume.  I got there a half-hour early and even then had to stand at the back of the church and watch the play.  I didn’t mind, not really.  The kids came out, and like every year the littlest ones were adorable.  Kindergartners and first graders singing with their tiny voices.

In the last few months I’ve been good.  I’ve had good times, I’ve laughed, and I’ve even enjoyed the moments that I have together with my kids.  I’ve talked with friends, renewed friendships and even gotten close to people.  None of it hurt, in fact it’s been good.

But tonight . . . tonight I heard her voice for the first time in over a year.

Hannah and her classmates
Hannah and her classmates

When our sons were singing, and our daughter stood there in a townspeople costume, I heard her voice.  When the little kindergartners – even though we know none of them – started singing off-key I felt her hand squeeze mine and her voice swoop up to falsetto as she said “oooohhhh!  They’re so cute!”

It should have hurt.  It should have made me tear up . . . and it did a little . . . but I smiled in spite of myself.  I missed her, but it didn’t hurt me like it used to.  I remembered how much she loved me and in particular our children and as the program ended I smiled.

I found out it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

The whole crew
The whole crew
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