It's been a crazy few days, celebrating hubby's very significant birthday on Friday followed by a mad dash Saturday to deck the halls before he left for a week in Switzerland. Today, when I should have been writing, I attempted to restore order to the house. Really, the Christmas decorations seem to breed each year, and I wind up with a pile of odd Santas and candles that have no home.
Also, can someone please explain to me why every year I must make no fewer than two trips to Target in the midst of decorating to replace lights?
Honestly, nonworking lights turn me into the Grinch. Normally, Peter claims that title. There's nothing festive about half-lit strands of lights that need to be removed from wreaths or garland and replaced with new lights that must be woven throughout the greenery.
Grinch, Grinch, Grinch.
After much non-festive muttering and worse, I'm afraid, the outside lights are up and working, the tree is dripping in LED colored lights that make our living room look like a disco, and every branch of the 9.5 foot behemoth Fraiser Fir droops with treasures.
We don't do decorator trees. Our tree is filled with handmade ornaments: clothespin reindeer and painted puzzle-piece toddler ornaments. Bells from Switzerland. Sparkly glass balls from vacations. Tacky, "back of the tree" ornaments. Ornaments showcasing each child's passion--music, Star Wars, horses, chickens, Madeline, Barney. Sailing ornaments for Peter, a tomato ornament for Garden Delights. Photos of a baby that is now a 21-year-old adult. And, like the ornament that occupied the place of honor on my family's tree as we grew up, a teapot resides just below the star. Our glass teapot ornament is everyone's favorite.
Our ornaments evoke memories, each one with a story to tell. I received the brass angel (above) when I was in second grade from my (now former) sister-in-law. Somehow, this little engraved angel meant the world to me--possibly because, being much younger than my siblings, I felt invisible. My sister-in-law talked to me like an adult, showing genuine interest in my crazy passions. I rarely saw her without a book in her hands, and she encouraged my book obsession. That same Christmas, she gave me
The Secret Garden
. Honestly, how could I not adore her?
Life happens, people change. I saw her a few times after the divorce, but she remarried and we lost touch. It's one of my great regrets. I would love to know her now, as my adult self.
But every year, when I unwrap the little angel, I think of her. It's the one ornament that I insist only I can hang on the tree.
It's tarnished now, a little rusty along the back, aged like its owner.
But in the dark, reflecting the disco lights, it shines with possibilities.
It will never be banished to the back of the tree.