Christmas Dinner, New Jersey, 2016

Your toddler crimes: Throwing a phone down a flight of stairs and then a toy into a Christmas tree dense with ornaments.

Mine: Upsetting jovial grandparents and an uncle by yelling at you and tapping your hand after the second incident.

I sigh, put on your coat and mine, and we go outside.

The air is colder than we’re used to, but perfect after the heat of the house.

The clear sky is filled with stars and passing airplanes. You’re equally thrilled by both.

But it’s the stars that make us both go silent after a while. We don’t see them often — and never as many — back home. For a while, we and they are still as a photograph. The words “Silent Night” could be the caption. Something inside me expands. I think, We can’t figure out how to explain God to you, but this is it.

When you get restless, we take each other’s hand and walk over to the neighbor’s yard, where a life-sized manger is blasting Christmas carols loud enough to be heard in our own family’s living room.

Christmas in north Jersey. Nothing quite like it.

That quiet, sacred moment with you and the stars. Something I’ll treasure like a delicate glass Christmas ball floating on the branch of an eight-foot tree.

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I hope you all had an interesting holiday season -and here’s to a 2017 filled with love, peace, stars, and music.

is a writer & worrier. She lives in Paris with an eccentric Frenchman & a delightfully weird little boy. Besides them, she loves books, history, & cookies.

is a writer & worrier. She lives in Paris with an eccentric Frenchman & a delightfully weird little boy. Besides them, she loves books, history, & cookies.