We married in November.
The tree went up less than three weeks later. Talk about pressure.
Our budget allowed for lace angels (made by a talented coworker), and styrofoam balls wrapped with red silk thread.
The splurge (besides the tree) was the tree topper: an angel with a porcelain head. I came from a star atop the tree family, so clearly this was a big deal.
The following year, we added strands of red beads (not at all sure why my bead hating husband agreed to this).
Glittery string ornaments (made by my mom), beaded angels (made by my grandma), and styrofoam balls wrapped in gold silk thread (I know…purr-it-e fancy) made their appearance as well.
When Kristin, our oldest, was born, my grandma gave her a personalized gold tone angel ornament complete with her birthdate and birth weight.
My in-laws tradition of ‘hiding’ ornaments on the tree for the grandchildren to find and keep added three matching ornaments a year. Grandma had a thing for snowmen. We have a lot of snowmen ornaments.
I went back to teaching when Alli, my youngest, was in first grade. You know what that means, don’t you? Yep. That’s right. That’s a minimum four ornaments a year. I believe my record was six.
Once we’d accumulated enough ornaments to do justice to our tree, we ditched the red/gold/angel theme.
A yearly trek to Taylor Creek (when the kids could be trusted in a fancy store with breakable items), added more ornaments.
Kristin chose reindeer. Every. Single. Year.
Logan favored Old World Christmas ornaments (you know…expensive…breakable) with a food theme …a piece of pie, a donut, eggs (sunny side up), a Chinese takeout box, and even a bottle of whiskey. (Great parenting, right there.)
Alli chose anything sparkly and shiny. (The pièce de ré·sis·tance being a large frosted pink ball with glitter dripping down the sides and white ‘fur’ on top. Go ahead. Reread. You really need to visualize this.)
Sports were well represented; we had volleyball and basketball and soccer ball ornaments.
Remember those handmade gifts from the kids? The ones using their class picture? Got quite a few of those.
And of course I have my own contributions: a Starbucks cup ornament, a wine glass ornament, and a wine cork ornament. (Due to my good fortune at ornament exchanges. Or maybe it was due to my ruthless competitive nature.)
Over the past 25 years or so, these ornaments adorned our tree.
A kaleidoscope of color…a variety of styles…lots of ornaments.
And lots of memories.
But this year is different (wouldn’t expect anything less from 2020). This year my youngest has her own tree and is ready to take custody of her ornaments. So the ornaments are being sorted and boxed.
This year our tree is simple. Rustic. (And yes, ‘themey’. Plus, I should probably mention there is a star on top.)
We enjoyed choosing new ornaments. We love our new look.
But it’s not filled with memories. And I’m making this mean more than it should.
How often do we feel ‘different’ means better or worse? Or right or wrong?
We differ in our beliefs about how we should parent and what makes a good marriage and whether or not there is a God and some of us even differ in our political views (probably hadn’t noticed this).
We differ in our beliefs about what food we should eat and when we should eat it.
We differ in how we respond to situations.
We express feelings differently. Some express feelings openly, while others internalize them.
These differences are not necessarily right or wrong. Not better or worse.
And these type of differences should be acknowledged. Respected.
Even if we don’t agree.
If this were a Hallmark movie, I’d end with the above sentence.
But it’s not.
Because what I keep thinking about is what if ‘a difference’ causes harm?
Something to Eat
by Nora Cooks
I’m warning you. These didn’t last long. And it’s not because we shared. They are tender, fudgy, and have just the right amount of sweet (thanks to the powdered sugar). I’ve found that we like them softer, so I shoot for the minimum baking time. They are easy to make (one bowl); however, you do need to form them into balls and roll in powdered sugar, so your hands get a bit messy. (Totally worth it.)
Something to Read
A Time for Mercy
by John Grisham
John Grisham. My all time favorite author. My guilty pleasure. I love him. I love his writing style. I love his word choice. I love how he keeps the plot moving and builds suspense. I love reading about law and order in the deep south (kind of an oxymoron). I love his characters. I especially love how I hear Matthew McConaughey’s voice every time Jake (the main character) speaks (you’d have to watch A Time to Kill, based on Grisham’s earlier novel to get this effect). Based on the number of times I used the word ‘love’, you should give this a try. (Although you might want to read A Time to Kill first.)
Something to Ponder
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differencesAudre Lorde
Happy Friday! I hope you are doing well and enjoying this new kind of holiday season. I’m feeling somewhat under control. House is decorated inside and out. Christmas letters have been mailed. Gifts have been bought and I am just patiently awaiting their arrival. Best of all, holiday music is always on and I am getting a nightly fix of Hallmark movies!
Take care, and I anxiously await your thoughts!