"Hark the herald angels sing, joy to the newborn king,/span>," Caroline hummed softly to herself as she lugged out the boxes of Christmas decorations. Christmas was always such a festive time of year but she was really dreading it this year. Her husband David had died in a construction accident five years ago in November just after Thanksgiving and Christmastime was his favorite time of year. They both loved the holidays so much that they'd gotten married two days after Christmas. Marrying her high school sweetheart had been like a dream come true, and his death her greatest nightmare brought to life. This was not the way she'd wanted to celebrate their ten-year wedding anniversary…or the Christmas season. It was so hard being without David day-by-day, but the holidays made things even tougher to swallow.
She moved Christmas decorations aside so her wedding photograph on the mantle still had its prominent place. Caroline smiled, she could remember his proposal as if it had been yesterday…so long ago. They'd been together for so long that his proposal hadn't been a complete surprise – but Caroline was delighted when David proposed to her coming home from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Attending the Midnight Mass service together had been a special tradition of theirs since they were 16 and now at 22, he knelt in front of her with a crystal angel Christmas ornament and a diamond ring. "I want you to be my wife. I want us to be together every Christmas for the rest of our lives," he said. The snow was falling, coating everything with a shimmery white coat of flakes. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Caroline said. "I will marry you!" Their wedding had been two days after Christmas the following year. Her bouquet held deep red roses, holly and a sprig of mistletoe. No one loved Christmas as much as they did. Caroline touched their wedding photo on the fireplace mantle and pretended to arrange the Christmas cards once more.
"Mommy, where is Dancing Santa?" asked Robbie. Her six year old was frantically looking in the boxes for his favorite decoration and noisy holiday toy. His big brown eyes darted through the box in front of him. If it were up to Robbie, Dancing Santa would be left up to decorate the house all year-round, thought Caroline.
"He should be in the largest box, Honey," Caroline said. She was valiantly unstringing lights that were tied in numerous knots. How they always wound up in knots after she'd put them away in neat rolls was a complete mystery to her. This was worse than doing that Rubik's cube as a child, she thought to herself as she untied one knot and was met with yet another knot to untie. She felt like one of those knots.