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Archive for December, 2012

_DSC0118_2Before dementia robbed my mother of herself, she loved the Christmas season.  For her, decorating the tree was special.   Mom went to great lengths to have the perfect tree, all ornaments strategically placed, everything color coordinated, garland just right, hundreds of tiny white lights hanging from every branch.  It just killed her to see my tree when my children were toddlers, all ornaments hanging just as high as the child could reach.  I didn’t dare move them because each child knew exactly where they hung their ornaments.  The bottom half of the tree was decorated, the top half, well not so much.

My girls still love decorating my tree and make a great effort to be home to help.  They also like to torture me, hanging the tackiest ornaments from their childhood for all to see.  There’s the plastic apple with “room mom” painted on it, and the construction paper star made by one of the kids, or the clothes pin reindeer.  Then there’s the huge parachute santa face ornament that my youngest daughter always insists on hanging  front and center because she knows how much I hate it.  The more I complain the tackier the tree becomes, but it is all in fun.  I long ago gave up the notion of ever having that perfect tree like mom’s.

Funny thing is I never realized how much I actually love those tacky ornaments haphazardly hung on the tree or the ever crooked angel barely hanging on to the top until this year.  Usually taking down the tree consists of a family member hurriedly ripping ornaments off of the tree and throwing them in a box in an attempt to help.  This year was different.  I was alone, carefully removing each ornament, reminiscing about each one before wrapping them in tissue and placing them in the box.  For the first time ever I realized how special my tacky little tree is and how I would never want it any different.

Oh, I’m sure the girls and I will continue to playfully argue about the decorating of the tree, but only I will know how much I love each and every ornament from their childhood.  I’m keeping that to myself, I don’t want to spoil their fun by telling them.

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Christmas this year was interesting.  First my tub stopped up and no amount of plunging or Drano would unstop it.  It made for a cozy bathroom situation with extra family in the house.  My granddaughter woke up sick, running a high fever and lethargic which is totally out of character for her.  She is usually a bundle of energy.  She opened her gifts laying down, sometimes asking her mother to open them for her as she couldn’t bring herself to do it, but yet not wanting to miss out.  Then one half of my dining room table broke and collapsed rendering it unusable.  Not good when you are expecting 18 people for dinner with no place to seat them.  We resorted to using two rectangular folding tables, attempting to make them look as festive as possible.  And when mom began vomiting repeatedly across my kitchen and then again on my new sofa of two months, I knew this would be a Christmas to remember.

No, it wasn’t a perfect Christmas.  Not even close.  And yes, it was a bit stressful, but my family was together.  The love shared among family and the joy of celebrating the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ is what is important.   I feel blessed to have shared this Christmas with my loved ones and for that reason it was indeed a very Merry Christmas.  I hope yours was as well.

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