Honey Belden cooed at six month old Bernadette as she dressed her in a red and white Santa sleeper.
“What a cutie pie you are, baby dear. I’m so sorry you have a code in your node. Mommy get you some eggnog and it’ll be gone in a jiffy. Let’s you and me go into the media room and watch Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street while Daddy is off at work.”
Honey shouldered the baby onto a burp cloth. As she strolled from the nursery to the other room where a big screen tv blankly stared back at them she bumped against a plastic Rudolph wearing a candy cane to replace a lost antler. Rudolph toppled over into the Santa Claus who promptly began to sing “Santa comes but once a year.” Honey purposefully kicked both the reindeer and the Santa out of the way. She hated these tacky decorations more than she loved her baby girl and promised herself to send Rudolph and Santa back to the North Pole soon.
Honey set Bernadette into her swing set, turned it on so the motion would settle down the baby’s fussiness. Honey, then, settled back into the comfy, overstuffed chair, putting her feet up on the matching ottoman. She loved this chair upholstered in taupe chenille and the beige and taupe throw that she snuggled into for warmth. The home theater housed the Compact Disc player that sweetly played Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
What in the world? Honey thought as she thrashed around for the remote to turn it off in favor of the movie.
She eyed the remote on a small oak stand on the other side of the room next to the Christmas tree. Honey hated having to get up to retrieve the control but she reluctantly shed the throw and arose from her comfortable nest. In a corner of the room of dark mahogany wood stood a beautiful Douglas Fir tree trimmed in original elementary as she and Brian termed the style of decoration. While each room in the huge house hosted a Christmas tree decorated in a theme, the tree in this room wore ornaments that both Honey and Brian had each made in elementary school. They laughed the entire time they had decorated the tree, chortling over whose invention sported the homeliest design. Brian held Bernadette and Honey placed each bauble on the baby’s tiny fingers before Brian slid it off onto the most perfectly perfect branch on the fir. The family enjoyed decorating this tree more than anything else so far that season.
Honey noticed Bernadette beginning to nod off in her swing set and smiled to herself as she immersed herself back into her own cozy nest. The room smelled so good, too. A pumpkin scented candle flickered in the upstairs window and cast a gentle shadow on the wainscoted wall.
Pushing the appropriate button Honey tuned into the movie she and Bernadette decided to watch. The warmth of the room together with the endearing aroma of the spicy candle lulled them into their afternoon nap.
Soon the house phone went ‘choo-choo’ because it happened to be a train and Brian loved the authenticity of the sound. Honey heard it through her dreams and chose not to answer. Let the answering machine pick up any message the caller chose to leave. Her eyes opened to the monkey call Santa encouraged a young Natalie Wood to imitate. Then Honey’s eyes drooped back into slumber land.
Next the front door bell pealed a Joy to the World chord Brian had programmed for the holiday season. Again, Honey chose to remain nestled and hoped Bernadette would not awaken either. This time when she peeked through one slit eye she found a stack of mail on the judge’s bench hiding him from view of the courtroom. Through the other half-opened eye Bernadette stayed sleeping, too, appearing as content as Honey felt.
Far away yet only in the downstairs entryway, the grandfather clock chimed the hour and Honey counted them in her reverie – one, two, three, four. Hmmm, she hummed to herself. Seemed like she needed to do something at four o-clock. Change Bernadette? Feed her? Bathe her? Brian would be home soon. Make dinner?
They decided when they set up housekeeping that they would hire no help but do all the chores themselves. Honey did hire a cleaning crew to come in every two weeks but yesterday, Monday, they had scrubbed the house from top to bottom. While Honey had no one to cook she thoroughly enjoyed her time off from the Frayne/Belden Detective Agency and devoted some time to meal planning and cooking those meals.
Honey yawned and stretched, luxuriating in the splendor of an afternoon spent doing absolutely nothing. Not a thing but being with Bernadette and doing just what the two of them wanted to do. This is heaven, Honey whispered to the baby. Bernadette also yawned and pushed her baby fist upward, too, causing Honey to smile.
In the back of her mind she knew what dinner would be – homemade soup she had made over the weekend. The delicious soup, meant to be served with taco chips on top, wouldn’t take long to heat up. She would change Bernadette, take her downstairs and together they would have dinner ready for Brian as soon as he came through the door at 6 p.m.
The credits from the movie scrolled and Honey turned off the screen.
“Hi Baby,” Honey sung to her daughter. “Ready to get up?”
Bernadette gave her mommy a toothy grin. Honey’s heart melted.
“Upsy, daisy, baby.” Honey picked her up and took her to the nursery to change her poopy diaper.
“Good girl,” Honey said and wrapped Cinderella into the container designed for easy disposal.
“And away we go, Baby Bernie.” Bernadette’s mommy scooped her up and together they went downstairs and into the cheery kitchen. Into her highchair Honey placed the child. She took all the ingredients out of the fridge and began getting dinner ready.
“Honey, I’m home,” crowed Brian a moment later. Upon entering the aromatic room, he swung Honey around in a bear hug and lifted Bernadette from her seat and repeated the dance with his baby daughter.
“We’re so glad you’re home, Daddy.” Honey joined her husband and daughter and she and Brian’s lips met in a three way kiss on Bernadette’s sweet mouth.