by Elizabeth McGinn ’21
Snow-roofed colonial revivals, nearly identical except for the colors; candles aglow in each window, welcoming wreaths on the door, twinkling lights hidden in the shrubbery. Walk inside any and there’s a familiar scene; a family gathered around the tree, plaid or snowman pajamas and fuzzy socks, hot chocolate—Peppermint Schnapps for the parents. Classic suburban New England Christmas.
But inside 30 is mine; brother, mother, and father. Only Mother knows what treasures lay underneath the tree. She smiles knowingly. For her, the joy is witnessing the unwrapping, seeing the excited expressions; she listened and found the perfect presents. Brother, older but none the wiser, aches to reach under the tree first; he rips apart the painstakingly wrapped paper while we watch. Grinning to his ears, he unveils exactly what he wanted. Father sips unsweetened coffee on the old cedar chair that does not match the sofa. Though the gifts surprise him too, he takes pride in how hard he works for his family, making this all possible. And me—I wait my turn, warmed by the fireplace and the kind of love that radiates on Christmas Day.