It happened in January.
I wanted to watch Downton Abbey. All week I alerted everyone in the house that Sunday night from 8 to 10 there would be absolute quiet in the family room. Watch the show with me or leave. I had waited ten months for the fourth season of my favorite show to begin.
But then the evening unraveled and by the end I was so frustrated that I left the house with my Emma dog, leaving the Tv on with Downton Abbey still playing. I drove up the hill feeling guilty and talking to myself about how immature my behavior was; after all, I could watch the show tomorrow on-demand. But then I arrived at the lights and my whole outlook calmed.
During the holiday season I have a favorite place to visit: a house with very special Christmas lights. Probably many people wouldn’t understand, but visiting it can soothe my frustration. To describe the beautiful scene isn’t easy, but it’s a huge property with enormous trees scattered around the front yard, and hanging from every tree are spheres of light – beautiful handmade balls about 24-inches in diameter covered with all different combinations of LED lights.
Sometimes I sit there in my car with “Silent Night” playing on my radio; sometimes I am bold and I walk among them as they swing in the winter silence — 100 beautiful balls – and for some inexplicable reason I am calmed. Most evenings throughout the holiday season Emma and I go to look at them, and I try to absorb their beauty so I can remember them the other months of the year.
My January evening first started to fall apart about 8:05 when the family arrived home, and no matter how quiet they tried to be, I was distracted. Then Bo came into the family room from his nap in the living room, “Whatcha doing?” and sat beside me. He continued to ask questions. Then one of the children came into the room and asked what was happening on the show as Lord Crawley entered his library with Lady Cora. My stress level was rising.
“What’s that?” Bo asked, touching a candle on the coffee table, then he picked up the newspaper and asked, “What’s this?” I was really trying to stay calm – one eye on the TV, the other on what Bo was doing, but I was really irritated and sorry for myself. He continued and I reacted. Jon, Bo’s caregiver, saw me walk out the door with the dog, so he took over.
Emma and I walked among the trees in the silence, the beauty of the lights calming me, and by the time I drove home I was back in balance.