And there were pumpkins

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“We still need to decorate for fall,” she said as I walked through the door and dropped my briefcase on the floor.

But you did it already. There are pumpkins here and there.

I felt her warm arms tighten around my neck, holding on as if I’d been away for years.

“But you didn’t. It doesn’t look like home.”

After so many years decorating, un-decorating, and re-decorating only to have to un-decorate again… I’m tired of Fall pumpkins and Christmas bobbles. I’d rather have a candle and a fire in the fireplace. I slipped off my coat and went downstairs to throw in a load of laundry. The thing is – I mused as I poured a tiny cup of pink soap – that they haven’t been doing it for years. That it’s still new to them, that it’s home, that it’s mom-love spread all over the house for them to see.

Tired from a long day, and quite frankly a long month, I went to the attic in search of the Fall decorations. The box had been opened and rummaged through, but all the best decorations were still there. I pulled out some strings of overly-colorful leaves and ceramic pumpkins, and climbed the stairs. The children were all outside, so I arranged things with minimal effort: a string over the entry mirror, a wreath hanging by the door. Then I went to the kitchen to cook dinner.

Some time later as Nora was singing me through the chopping of a huge pan of vegetables, I heard the front door click open. A moment of silence, and then a squeal.

“You’ve decorated! Oh yay!”

One after the next they came inside – and each of them said the same thing in their own ways. Even the 16-year-old son didn’t hide his delight.

I had 10 translations waiting for me in the office, four articles, a website to design and bills to pay; but the smell of dinner and the sound of chatting children was ringing through the house, and bright eyes were sending me signals of love.

Such a small thing is the presence of one person. But it changes the world.


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