I was going to sit down and try and write a Bag of Tricks post with advice about how to get off-schedule, going-to-bed-late, hyped-up-on-cookies and sweets children back to a routine come Monday, the day when most kids will be heading back to school, and parents back to work. Then I realized that I didn't have much advice to offer--my bag is decidedly empty. We woke up at 9:30 on Saturday (don't hate us--remember, L. didn't start sleeping through the night until he was EIGHT) and one of my first thoughts was how on earth were we going to get up at 6:30 on Monday morning. How were we going to get up, and out the door, and back to school lunches and homework and meetings and school-related angst and carpool lines and juggling a million different things? How would we reinsert ourselves into this world, and leave behind the idyllic, lazy, pajama-clad mornings--mornings of multiple cups of coffee, and warm slippers and no place to go? Of course there have been the not-so-idyllic things, too, like bickering siblings who have been spending way too much time together, and staying up too late and taxing their parents' patience by encroaching on the all-too-valuable Grown-Up Time, but even those things, I just know I'll miss them, too. ********* By the time the New Year has been suitably rung in I'm more than ready to pack up Christmas and restore some of the rooms in our house to a less cluttered state. Still, it's a bittersweet time, packing up Christmas, and I struggle with it every year. On Friday, as I was putting away some of the Christmas decorations I had to stop for a moment and almost pinch myself. It seemed so unreal that I was taking everything down, when surely it had been just a few days ago when T. was pulling out stuffed Santas and candles and rushing about gleefully to find places for it all. Surely we had just set up the Christmas village, and hung the ornaments on the tree and set out the Santa soap dispenser in the downstairs bathroom, and opened up that first advent calendar window? On Saturday I reclaimed the top of my buffet and when the last of the Christmas village buildings was packed away I polished the wood and put the things back on top--my blue and green dotted vase, the lamp, a bowl with corks, and the silver tray where we keep the opened bottles of wine. Just as I was thinking, with satisfaction, how nice it was to have the top of the buffet back again, T. wandered into the room. She took one look at the empty buffet and her lips quivered. "I guess Christmas is gone," she said with a heavy sigh. I looked around the room and saw it through T.'s eyes: an empty practical-seeming buffet top, stripped of the happy ice skaters on the pond, and the little villagers going back and forth from the Fish Market, and the lighted windows of the Toy Emporium would be dark for a whole year. "Oh T.," I told her--maybe more for myself than for her, "there are so many wonderful things right around the corner." And there are, and we talked about them, as we sat on the dining room floor amid the boxes and bins. T.'s moment of melancholy about the packing up of Christmas vanished. She's so little, and resilient as little people are, and a seemingly endless stretch of Christmases lie before her. My melancholy though, mine might linger a little longer, I think--I'm not as resilient as I used to be.