Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree.....






We finally got our tree yesterday and then put it up this afternoon. The plan had originally been to begin the festivities this morning, with hot chocolate, homemade cookies, caroles, and decorating, but there was a crisis involving the tree stand (in a nutshell- it broke, sending the tree on top of Tom, who was laying on the floor under it at the time). Shortly thereafter, Daddy and his three oldest offspring headed for Rolliers, the local hardware store, searching for a new stand. Long story short, we ended up being rescued by (no surprise here) our neighbor, Donna, who just happened to have an extra stand. The kids were so excited to see all the ornaments as they bounded back and forth from the dining room table, where they were laid out, to the tree, to hang them up. As I sat in a chair holding a rather cranky and Grinch Seth (teeth- its not his fault), I smiled, recalling how much I looked forward, every year, to the ritual of decorating the family tree- it certainly ranks high on the list of my favorite memories. Though there was never any real pomp n' circumstance involved, and it was only my mom and I (except for the year my friend Vicki lent a hand), the magic of the ornaments was so enchanting to me. It was as if they held, within them, all the memories of the year I'd first laid eyes on them- and I'd yell "Oh, I remember this one- I love this one, Mommy!!" or "This is my favorite ornament in the whole world!" And there were lots of favorites. How could there not be. Most of them my mom had handmade out of pipe cleaners or plain ornaments that she'd embellished with felt or pretty ribbons. Then there was the log cabin made out of toothpicks, and, in later years, the bread dough creations. I was lucky enough to inherit my mother's unique artistry, so now my family's tree is covered in much the same fashion. There are no fancy glass balls, bought by the half-dozen, or yearly themed decor; just our collection of homemade or somehow personalized ornaments-
each of which conjure up some of our most special moments- a candy-can striped "T" which I gave to Tom when we were first in love,
dough or ceramic black cats for each of the felines we've been lucky enough to love (and subsequently lose in different years)
,each child's "1st Christmas", walnuts made into miniature Santas from Tom's Grandparents who've passed away, a clothespin Santa bought from my Elementary School in the seventies- donated to me from my mom's treasure trove, along with some random Bob the Builders, Madelines, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie The Poohs. Compared to the displays of many in the neighborhood where we live, whose trees are exceptionally coordinated to match their walls and rugs, our collection may first appear to be somewhat tacky and unrefined. A closer look, however, and anyone could see that our lives are most sweetly represented on every branch and I would have it no other way. Thanks Mom for your lasting inspiration and thanks to my kids for keeping the sparkle alive.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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