Our house was always filled with music. As kids, my brothers and I loved the big square record covers. We were allowed to explore, choose, play at will. Our parents’s collection was the two of them combined, a glimpse at their life before children.

There were party mixes on cassettes, too. I fell asleep listening to the radio. One of my last actual birthday presents (not mixed in with the Christmas loot) was a Discman.

But recently, maybe even over the last decade, I’ve stopped listening. I don’t listen to music when I write. I say I can’t, but I could probably learn. All I know is that right now it’s distracting.

Before, houses had stereo systems. We had speakers stacked on the floor. Now, most of the audio I listen to comes out of the tiny speaker at the bottom of my phone.

But today, Mom requested “not Christmas music.” So I connected my phone to a portable Bluetooth speaker and started my Faves playlist: every song rated 5 stars. We listened all day, as I undecorated the house, as Mom made turkey pot pie, as Dad packed Christmas away for another year.

Next year, there will be more music in my life. I’ve missed it.