|Me and Kim, at Sara MaMa's house, with her Silver tree and the electric colored machine.|
Each year that rolls around we always decorate. I have decorative flags for every occasion. Every season. Every holiday. For every moment life has to bring, my house represents. And Christmas is certainly no exception. Christmas brings double duty, inside and out.
My family grumbles and mumbles, gripes and moans. And I have to admit, we have tapered down somewhat over the years. The yard is not as lit as it used to be. We used to light the house, and streamline the Dogwood trees all the way down the front of the house. But somewhere, about the time Joshua moved off to go to college, things slowly seemed to change.
Zach's interest has waned quite a bit. They act like I'm crazy and as if every minute is killing them. But maybe it's not as fun, making fun of crazy, maniacal Mama without Joshua to chime in and help. I even noticed the difference yesterday when most of the light stringing was going on. Matt was here to help, and between he, Zach and Mims, it all got done efficiently and with ease. No fussing. Well, a tad, when I piped up and said I wanted more lights here or there. Or told them something was crooked or needed to be moved over an inch. Or a half inch. I was able to do most of the inside alone. The 'round the edges' decorating I call it. I left the tree ornament decorating for today. I was just too tired. And honestly, I can never remember going to bed, and haven gotten that far, and not finished. But I sat right here in my recliner last night, perfectly satisfied with looking at a naked lit tree.
This morning, refreshed and rejuvenated, and ready to be done, I dragged the big box of ornaments forth and began what I call the art of Christmas. And it is an art. You don't just throw ornaments on a tree any old kind of way. They are strategically placed, based on size, color, and memory. This morning was our only 'drama'. I needed help in the high and out of reach places, and Zach was not interested. A few ugly words left my lips, which left Zach an opening for an irony lecture. You know the one. Decorating for the season of Jesus, and talking ugly don't mix.
Ah, the memory ornaments, the hardest to stop putting on the tree. Hand made by little hands and big hearts, at school and at home. Ornaments that were purchased and dated and tagged with a name for each year my children have been born. Or ornaments that represent who they are (Alabama) and who they are a fan of (Longhorns). Each son 'owns' a side of the tree. And if you follow the puzzle, each side is a slideshow of who they are, and where they were in time, at certain points of their lives. At some point, it will be a nice thing for me to do, to give up those decorations, and relinquish them to my sons. I'm not ready yet.
But I do know the day is coming. The one I have seen in my parents. The one I saw in my own grandmother so many years ago. I used to fuss at my MaMa Eloise because they stopped putting up a tree. She said they always came to our house, and no one saw it. I told her, they did. They saw it. And didn't it make her feel better? She pacified me a year or two. Then stopped again. And even now, my parents are mumbling about only putting it up for themselves, because the holiday gatherings and meals have moved to my house.
I used to not understand that at all. My children were still young enough to transfer their infusion of excitement to me. Anything that made them happy, made me doubly so. But this year, I saw a sliver of how that feels. Like you're decorating for the memory of it, more than the want to of it. How the memory makes you feel. I guess we're all at that age some time. The age where you're constantly reaching backward, looking for something that makes you feel good today.
Hopefully, one day, some grandchildren will come along, and give me that old familiar push again. When you see their eyes filled with awe and twinkles as the lights and colors overwhelm their sense of sight. When they remind you, every night, to hurry and let's turn the lights on, it's dark now! In the meantime, I still have stockings hung and lights strung. I still have my tree up in all it's years of beauty combined. And I still have lights outside, strung across bushes , on swings, bells, and car sheds. It's enough to keep me going. Until the spirit is revived and the reason to 'over' decorate' presents itself again.
I can still close my eyes and smell both of my grandmother's houses. I can't wait until little ones can close their eyes, and smell mine.