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A welcome noisiness


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The daughter from New York was home for the holiday.

For a little time, that upstairs room was occupied again. And, especially when she and her sister were together in the house -- their voices and laughter combining in the remembered way -- there was a sense of the family made whole once more.

Both of them are independent creatures now, with lives and lodgings of their own. Their childhood friends all have grown to be men and women, too, many of them with new families already begun.

That is the normal progression -- the way you hope things will proceed. But having said that, it's still necessary to come to terms with losses.

What pathetic creatures we parents are. Counting down the days. Rushing to the airport, all atwitter.

When they are away, out of sight and occupied with their affairs, I may resent the clutter left behind -- the full closets, the heap of cartons and furniture from student years, filling a garage in which no place remains to put a car.

But when they're here, full of life and light, I can forgive them anything.

The time's so precious, and there's so much of interest going on, I find it impossible to do any kind of useful work.

The amazement is how quickly the days fly.

A few meals together. The sound of doors opening and shutting. Footsteps in the hall. With any luck, one or two conversations of substance.

Then, all in a rush, it's finished.

So here we are, two again, adjusting to the sudden quiet of the house, and the empty chairs at the table.

"Holidays are nice," one of us can be counted on to say. "But it's good to get back to our routine."

"Right," the other answers. "It's fine having the place all to ourselves."

"Anyway, in three weeks we'll all be together again for Christmas."

"Three weeks and four days, to be exact," the other will say.

Because, you see, we're already counting.

C. W. Gusewelle is a Kansas City Star columnist.

Pub Date: 12/03/98

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