© 2024 Interlochen
CLASSICAL IPR | 88.7 FM Interlochen | 94.7 FM Traverse City | 88.5 FM Mackinaw City IPR NEWS | 91.5 FM Traverse City | 90.1 FM Harbor Springs/Petoskey | 89.7 FM Manistee/Ludington
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Essays by Karen Anderson: Home for Christmas

Illustration by Kacie Brown

I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks—being home for Christmas. Now I’m here, tucked in under the familiar blue wool blanket—and wide awake at two a.m. I was sure that when I could “sleep in my own bed” I could sleep—but the insomnia that has stalked me at college has followed me here. Finally, at four a.m., I crawl out of bed and tiptoe into my parents’ room.

“Mom,” I whisper, touching her shoulder. “I can’t sleep.”

“I’m glad you woke me up,” she says quietly. “I was hungry and I didn’t know it.”

Soon we are sitting on the couch by the light of the Christmas tree, drinking tea and eating frosted Santa Clauses. Actually, she is eating and I am crying, telling her about everything that has gone wrong this past semester.

“It was a terrible mistake,” I sob, “moving into a sorority house. It’s so noisy and I can’t study and I can’t sleep.” My mother nods, sipping her tea.

“We’ll figure it out,” she says.

Looking back, I see that my worst moment was her finest hour—not when she helped me figure it out but when she said, “I was hungry and I didn’t know it.”

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.