The night sky darkens this room. Dinner dishes clang, as do my Mothering Words.
Finish your milk. Push in your chair. Wash your hands.
I’m sighing my way through this night.
Jason and I maneuver our small kitchen. The dishes and the leftovers and the kids whirl around us.
“Babe? Does Kay have Brownies tonight?” He slides by my side, throwing away one thing, putting away another.
I cringe at the thought of the cold and the bundle and the just-past-moonlight whine.
“We don’t have to go” he says, resting one hand on my back.
I lean into his warmth, knowing that of course, we’ll go.
And we do.
We gather and zip and buckle- times three.
My mood is soothed with car music, backseat giggles, and more than just one, “I can’t wait!”
I walk into my friend’s home with my family puzzle-pieced to me.
A fire crackles in one room, hot chocolate sweetens another, and laughter fills a third.
Whatever rough edges remain, smooth away.
It’s the Winter Solstice.
Candles and bonfires, twinkle lights and hot chocolate, mittens and cookies paint this night Celebration.
We stand in a circle. Colorful boots polka dot the just fallen snow.
Each girl shares a Winter Love. Sledding. Hot chocolate. Snowmen. Fireplaces. They weave winter’s finest patterns.
The fire flickers, their eyes match.
Once each rosy cheek is raised, they wrap their still small fingers around their still lit candles and yell, “Welcome winter!”
My girlfriends and I stand close, their knits warm my arms.
Shoulder-to-shoulder, we listen to our daughters’ friendship fill the backyard from snow to stars.
This night is all that is sweetness, and all that is light.
And in this New Year, my Mothering and Friend and Minnesotan Heart hopes for more of this. Exactly this.