It’s our thing we do when Daddy has to leave for work early during Peak Season: we drive home from pre-k the long way and drive through the neighborhood around the corner that always has the most awesome Christmas lights.
Yesterday evening was the last time we’ll ever take that particular drive.
Not that we won’t ever look at Christmas lights again — just that it won’t ever be just the two of us driving home the long way from pre-k to look at Christmas lights.
I realized we were experiencing a Last Time Ever, so I took special note of every detail.
I snuck glances back at Connor’s face while I drove, to see his entranced expression (even though we’ve driven this route almost every evening). I drove slowly around the one cul-de-sac where nearly all the houses have fantastic light displays, and Connor requested we sit for a moment in front of the best one, with the LED icicle lights above the front door that change colors in patterns. Sitting there, while Pandora played The First Noel, Connor and I noticed the details of the display: the lighted snowmen at play in the yard, half-buried in snow; the twinkling snowflake lights along the walk.
Finally, once Connor said it was OK, we continued our drive toward home, past more houses with more lights — then, surprisingly, one more house had their lights up! And it was a huge display, right on the corner of the neighborhood and the main road, with lighted figures in the back yard and the front yard and lights along the fence and on the front porch. It was amazing and beautiful and a total surprise.
I wanted to drive more slowly down the main road toward home, but the speed limit is 35 mph and people would get seriously irritated if I went 20 instead. So, we rolled past more houses with even more lights, until finally we pulled into our own driveway.
A five-year-old has little to no understanding of the importance of these moments to his parents. I tried to explain to him that things will never be exactly the same again, that we’ll never drive home from pre-k and look at Christmas lights like this again… but he only understands that this weekend is Christmas. He can’t think ahead to when he’s in Kindergarten, and will take the bus home, and will already be home when I get home from work.
Unless we enroll him in Latchkey for Peak Season, in which case maybe I’ll pick him up from school and we’ll take the long way home again…