Put the extra blanket on the bed. Take out the screens. Bring the philodendron in off the patio. Rake the leaves. Wait two days. Do that again. Start comparing online chili recipes. Dust off the crockpot. Start wearing socks again. “Spring forward, Fall back.”

Wonder if you should risk stuffing the turkey. Will anybody die? Should you use the good silver this year? It is such a pain to carefully wash and dry it afterwards-they say you can put it in the dishwasher, but it might get ruined somehow. Creamed onions? They are so good, but they give everybody gas.

When do you drag out the Christmas stuff? Should you do much decorating if you are not going to actually be here on Christmas morning? Maybe you should get rid of the big artificial tree, once and for all? Is a nice wreath on the front door enough? Are you turning Scrooge-ish?

You are getting older. So it’s ok to set the thermostat on 73 degrees. Saving on the energy bill isn’t worth the suffering. Who wants to wear a coat to cook dinner? Warming the bed with the heating pad is a good idea. Toasty when you get in.

Joints. You curse them. They ache when it rains. Arthritis is a given. Ben Gay is now a staple. You have an entire wardrobe of knee braces. You get your wedding ring sized up so that it fits over your knuckle, damn it.

Bright side: The foliage. Ginkgo trees are the most glorious. They sell chestnuts at the grocery now. Hot tea while watching television at night. Gingerbread. The kids are coming home for Thanksgiving. You had to buy a baby gate, and it made you feel like you were a young married person again.  And my God, Poldark, season four.

Dinner by candlelight. Driving past houses with lit windows, catching a glimpse of the life inside. Cats curled up right next to you. Cocoa.

Grandchildren on Christmas morning.

A deep breath of gratitude.



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