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Mother’s Day is over. The kids and grandkids have gone home. My house is silent—but not empty. It’s filled with a contented sigh.
I love the aftermath. Having friends or family visit is stimulating, like hot peppers in a good salsa. The spaces of the house are filled with action and conversation and the presence of many personalities. The dogs dance about in a frenzy of joy. For once there are more than enough hugs and kisses and kindly touches. For once the dogs won’t have to beg for attention. Their cup overflows. Around them, the house seems to buzz and inflate. At last every room is important—even the restroom in the basement. Everyone and every thing has a sense of purpose—a raison d’etre.
We celebrated a birthday plus Mother’s Day for two, so the dining room is festooned with crepe paper streamers and imitation tie-die balloons. The table is set with not one but two bouquets of flowers. The room felt a little embarrassed at first when the decorations went up. Isn’t this a little much? Does this compromise my dignity? Should I have been gifted better furniture to make me worthy? But no, there is no need to deserve this love and gaiety. It simply is. Enjoy.
The very air expands to accommodate so many voices, so much music and laughter. The aromas of cooking jet about on their molecules, teasing, promising. Soon no one will be hungry. Soon the people will sigh with contentment. The promise is eventually fulfilled with foods made more delicious by the contributions of many hands. Love was liberally applied—never too much.
And then the time has run out. Like the consumption of birthday cake, the house has its fill. Too much richness and the house will moan and change to a gluttonous place—a space that dares to expect peak experiences all the time—selfish, entitled, indulgent. As with all that is, there is a time to let go, to recycle the happiness by sending it out like the perfume of blooming flowers born on the air, to share it with those who wallow in grayness, sickened by too much silence.
The guests leave. Hugs, kisses, waves, honks. If they have supped full enough of love and peace, they’ll be free of hate or judgment or division—at least for a while. They’ll stare at the haters and control freaks as one does at natural disasters, wondering why. What strange choices! For the moment, the strings that held them tightly to a disgruntled society flop loosely. We’ve all glimpsed what the world could be.
And we close the door. The house settles as one does in a recliner, lifting tired legs into the air—ah, that feels good. The silence is heavy with all that has been. Nothing is as it was this morning. The warm glow of caring deepens the colors, lends a golden hue to the light. The dogs curl into their beds, exhausted. No house this. This is a home—something to share.