Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, no longer dark and bare to me.

OK, well I couldn't let Christmas end like that, with a dark & bare Christmas Tree like in my last post (Oh Christmas Tree, Bev style).  

Time to get into the Christmas spirit.
 So I decided I was putting up all the ornaments 
with or without lights.  

Some of these ornaments were my mom's from 40-50 years ago.  I couldn't let them just spend Christmas in a container like many did last Christmas.  I put many of them up last year, but it was sad putting them up, the first Christmas without my mom.  And there just wasn't room for all of ours and my moms.

I never realized how beautiful, how intricate many of them were.  That each one has its own story, its own memory, they all came flooding back to me today.  I started thinking that maybe the lights don't really add to the tree after all, maybe they distracted me from appreciating these ornaments all these years.

My daughter Jen saw what I was doing, laughed and said  "No way mom.  That's ridiculous, a tree without lights!  There's no way that's happening."  I continued to decorate the tree and read her the dates on some of the boxes of ornaments.  "1968 the box of 8 was only .29 cents.  There are about 10 Chicago Cubs ones from over the years.  Grandma loved her Cubbies.  Oh look, here's her Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueyn Kennedy ornaments!"  There were ornaments of angels and snowmen and bells and tea cups and lighthouses.  All the things my mom loved.

(My mom, Christmas Eve, 2009.  She passed away without warning 1 month later.)

She had ornaments of the nativity scene, 
the reason for the season.  
(I found this pic on the internet.
We have this exact same ornament below that I'm talking about)

Then there were our family's ornaments.  I said to Jen, "Look Jen, it says 'Our First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs., 1989', when your dad and I got married.  And 'Baby's First Christmas, 1992."   I told her, "Grandma bought this for us that Christmas, when you were 10 days old." It had a baby girl rocking in a cradle, much like the picture I found on line below:

Jen said she kind of understands what I mean now and she was getting sad as all the memories came back to her as well.  She said, "It is great reflecting on the meaning of each and every ornament, but come on mom, don't be crazy, of course we're getting lights for our tree tomorrow.  It's a Christmas tree mom, it's gotta have lights!"

It didn't matter to me either way.  I was content with what I had, even though my kids think it was a crazy idea, a tree without lights.  I was happy taking my time this year appreciating each and every ornament. With my hurt back, I could only put up one at a time, slowly, over hours.

Lorens agrees with Jen so we're getting a few strands.  And I guess when we put up some lights, it will make it look even better.  But this day without tree lights taught me a valuable lesson, to realize what is, to me, most important and the greatest of all of my material possessions, the history and memories associated with my family's Christmas tree ornaments.

My home came alive today with the Christmas spirit when I took them out and put them up. They've got decades of good memories we've shared in Christmases past.

Somehow, before, the importance of the ornaments
 had been lost to me among the lights
and the rush to just finish putting it all up. 

Merry Christmas! 
Love, glass half full in the Chicago burbs.

(Jen, me, Mike & Lorens.  Christmas Eve, 2011 at my sisters house)

UPDATE 12/26/2011:  Christmas was wonderful.  My family, my brother, his wife, my sister & her children all made the journey to my sister's home.  There was love, laughter, great food, drinks, great games and tons of presents.  We visited my parents grave and told them both Merry Christmas.  We all miss them terribly but are still trying to continue the traditions they instilled in us:  Love one another.  Be kind.  Be loving.  Try and laugh often.  Be thankful.  And we all are.

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