By Kathy Miele
Steven and I were in the living room watching television when we heard our boys, Max and Alex, laughing hysterically in another room.
We turned down the television to listen to them. “I’ve got to say, I love hearing them laugh that hard,” Steven said.
I had to smile. “Me too.”
“What do you think they’re doing?” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure they’re setting up another crime scene in my Christmas village,” I answered.
It has become an odd holiday tradition for them. It started the first year I’d gotten the village. I’d decorated the house shortly after Thanksgiving that year and one of my new decorations was a winter village. I’d gotten half dozen buildings along with trees, benches and people that dot the landscape I’d create. The centerpiece was the church that had an ice skating pond at the bottom of the hill.
I spent quite some time making sure each person was in the right spot. Children were playing in the snow while skaters were twirling on the ice. Setting up the village had taken longer then I’d expected that first year. So I’d only had a moment to stand back and admire my village before I had to get into the kitchen to start dinner.
It was while I was making dinner that my boys came downstairs and noticed the village. I heard muffled giggles while the chicken was cooking but had no idea that they were taking my village and turning it into a place of complete bedlam.
It was while I was setting the table that I noticed they’d changed the village landscape. “Hey!” I called out. “Who’s been messing with my village!”
My boys came around the corner laughing, waiting and hoping that I’d notice their work.
“Did you see the little car stuck in the snowbank?” Max asked.
“Yup, I saw that,” I said.
“How about the kids lost in the woods?” Alex asked.
“OK, so that’s why all the trees were moved to one corner,” I said as I began moving the pieces back to their original places.
“Hey,” they both cried. “What are you doing?”
“I’m putting my village back to the way it’s suppose to be,” I said.
“Oh, come on, Mom!” Max said. “You didn’t think that was funny?”
There had been a little part of me that had, but at that moment I didn’t want to admit it.
Alex looked at Max and started to laugh. “Let her put it back,” he said. “I’ve got some more ideas for the next time.”
And that was the beginning of our new Christmas village tradition.
As each year passes and the boys get older, the crime scenes get a bit more complicated. It’s become almost as much fun as trying to figure out their crime scenarios as it is setting it back into the peaceful village I first thought it would be all those years ago.
I looked back over at Steven sitting on the couch, the television still on mute. “Want to come with me to see what they’ve done this time?” I asked.
“Let’s give them a few more minutes,” he said as he held onto my arm and we listened to their laughter. “I don’t think they’re done yet.”