The cricket song is reverberating in my ears now, as the last of the light fades. It's funny - moments after stepping out of the car this weekend, my brother's girlfriend was asking me what all the noise was, and it took a moment's pause and a re-tuning of my mental filters before I realized she was referring to the crickets. And yes, they ARE loud.
In our own everyday environment, we become used to certain sounds, smells, sights. In my world, much of the light and colour and sound comes from my little boy. He was long-ago nicknamed "the EveryReady Kid" (a nod to a battery advertisement) for his astonishing energy and ability to be "on", and on the go, from the moment he opens his eyes till the moment his eyes (and mouth) finally close.
Right now, for all the incredible reverberations of the crickets and the murmur of the TV in the background, my house is quiet. It's not unusual for him not to be here - he spends every second weekend with his father, and has been doing 4 days a week at preschool this year. Yet, somehow, when his father picked him up for their Christmas holiday in Northern Queensland, something stilled inside my house, and within me. This will be the first time my little man sees Christmas in without me, and me without him.
Sadness is probably not the right word for the feeling I'm experiencing. Fairness demands that I recognize that his father has already been through this last year, when I took the wee man to my mother's for Christmas, and I'm nothing if not fair.
Part of me is actually quite exultant at the unique pleasure of a quiet, stress-free, totally-mine-to-do-as-I-please Christmas week. I've an invite to a street party on Christmas Eve, which I'm looking forward to, but apart from a last bit of shopping and groceries tomorrow I plan to make like a hermit, and immerse myself in writing and developing the various projects I am setting up for the New Year. (More on that in the near future...look, I'm even going to have time to blog!)
Yet, as well as fair I'm also honest, and it's true that not being able to watch my baby's face light up as he realizes that, once again, the magic of Christmas has touched his world and the jolly fellow in the red suit has heeded his dreams is going to be worthy of the odd tearful moment.
But don't feel sorry for me. Think about all the things I'm going to get done! After all, it's so quiet....