Outside, the sun is shining brightly in a sky that’s patchy with grey smudgy clouds and the occasional wisp of white. The kids are playing ball hockey on the driveway with their cousin, breaking in the brand new hockey net. Or maybe they are curling – the short-handled garage broom keeps making an appearance. They’ve been out there for almost two hours, looking less and less like the puffy starfish bundles they were as two- and three-year olds and more and more like gangly long-limbed almost-adults.

Inside, the floors have been swept and mopped, the carpets still need vacuuming, and I’m starting to ponder the possibility of packing away the Christmas ornaments and taking down the tree. The seasons go by, year after year, looking the same to the untrained eye, but I know the difference. I can see it in the height of the trees, the depth of the snow, and the size of the footprints left by happy children. Life grows on, bit by bit.


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