It's Sunday night.
One set of kids left early this morning. They were out the door at 5:00 a.m. in order to beat the traffic.
Another set was a bit surprised the former took off so early. (There was banter and wagering who would leave first and if there would be driveway congestion with both trying to take off simultaneously.)
The dishes have all finally been cleaned and put away. There were moments when they threatened to overrun the place, showing up in unexpected places. Lingering on counter tops. Forgotten on a side table, discovered some place unexpected.
Miniature candy wrappers are still being found between couch cushions and underneath the random chair.
There's a lot of laundry to be mastered - towels, linens, placemats, more.
The games have been retired to their proper places. They all seem to be intact, all their pieces and parts none the worse for wear.
When the refrigerator is opened, there's an almost audible sigh from the many contents still within, courtesy of Thanksgiving. Not all of them will be used.
The dog is exhausted. He's been sleeping most of the day, realizing the lack of activity buzzing about the house is a nice change of pace.
The house is still standing.
And it's almost disturbingly quiet in its solitude.
I have to admit: It's kind of nice everyone took off a day earlier than expected in order get to their respective homes and refreshed themselves before the week starts anew. But at the same time, there's an air of loneliness hovering in the air.
It was a lazy day once everyone left. It began to rain as morning ticked closer to noon and hasn't stopped since. A good day for recuperation and reflection. And, uncharacteristically, for a long nap to counter the effects of long nights of competition and revelry and impossibly early mornings which should have been spent in bed until a more reasonable hour. For example: When the sun was above the horizon.
But it was all worth it. Laughter and memories and clogged toilets and picture sharing and lots and lots of learning were committed during the last five days.
And that's a good thing ...