I have come many miles to visit...

After a long and exhausting day of having all three nephews over at the house, I told my mother what Jeff and I have been quietly discussing for some time: the fact that unless something strange happens, that we won't be having children.

She says she's not disappointed. I hope that she's telling me the truth; it's hard to tell. But I know that she's not surprised. She mentioned that some of my relatives have started asking her when Jeff and I planned to start having children, and that her response has been that she's never been too sure that we planned on having any at all.

It's not a typical choice in life, I know. A species full of organisms like me wouldn't be in existence for very long. (But they'd probably have a great library.)The three boys are quite a lot of terror when put together. A four-year-old, a five-year-old, and a nine-year-old can cause a lot of fear, terror, and noise together. :) As I suspected, though, I gravitated toward Chris—the oldest. While still a riotous nine-year-old, there is a reserve of shyness in him that I instinctively understand. He also has a blatantly obvious artistic talent that needs nurturing.

I didn't leave the house today. I meant to, but I just never found the inclination to go. I know from my mind and my watch that it is Christmas Eve, but part of me is oblivious to the presents, the trees, the oft-repeated Christmas carols. Somewhere deep inside, my heart still hasn't figured it out.

There is freezing rain and sleet advancing from southwest to northeast Arkansas as I write this. We are going to open presents at seven a.m. tomorrow morning, then go over to my grandmother's to celebrate and eat there. My family is moving lunch up to 11:00 a.m. so that we can eat before we go. Because of the weather, Mom is urging us to get on the road as quickly as possible tomorrow.

After a few days away I find myself missing the comfort and solitude of home and cats. My actions and words are on display here, and I'm eager to go back home so that I can just be myself for a little while. Get back to writing without anyone thinking it's odd. Cuddle the orange-and-white wondercats whose purring presence I've dearly missed.

I am a hermit, yes.

I have come many miles to visit. I have done so. I have made my presence felt, and I have reassured my family that I am safe and well. But now I am ready to go home.