The tree for the 2010 Christmas season is up. Found the perfect one, not too big yet not too small, at a nursery not far from home. The boys and dad went on the search as I just wandered around SMELLING the place!, and they turned up a wonderfully proportioned Douglas fur. Within 10 minutes the house smelled of lumberjack love and I was busy all day stringing lights, garlands, more lights and even ran out for an extra strand of multi colored lights because there just was not enough sparkle and twinkling going on for me! That sucker should be blinking on and off in all areas of the branches, because it is the perfect combination of lighting that will be the backdrop for all those ornaments that will adorn the tree in the end. I do it all to spotlight the ornaments in the right balance of steady and blinking wonder. Yes, the tree is my pride and joy. It is the best part of Christmas for me.
I have ornaments that date back to 1976, or at least that is the furthest back that I can see. (There was a very unfortunate incident when I moved to California that devastated many other little time modules of my life. Long story short, it involved a broken snow globe and many hand made ornaments, most made of dough, that were mush when they arrived at my seaside city apartment.) I have hand painted glass ornaments. I have a whole collection of ceramic Peanuts Characters from the 70's. I have some from girl scouts made with my own little hands. I have some bought and some made by my children, many given to me by my family and my husband's family along with countless gems from friends. I look at them as a time capsule of my whole life. There, on that tree, is a lifetime of living, an abundance of memories, a time line of knowing love through family and friends all represented once a year to show me where I have been.
I of course have three very special ornaments on the tree that represent my adopted children. I hung them on the tree and admired them for a moment. Usually, this would bring some tears but not this year. I felt a peace, if you will. I have felt it in the past, however this time it was a little more relaxed, like I was in a good place. Then I got to the most cherished ornaments that I own: a collection of daughter, mother ornaments that were, and still are, made by Hallmark.
For as long as I can remember my mother gave me an ornament every year from her mecca, her sanctuary, the local Hallmark store. Adorable and oh so meaningful I just love them! When I was old enough to buy gifts on my own, I began to buy her the mother ornaments that would go along with the daughter ornaments. It is a collection that I cherish, and it is my very favorite part of Christmas ... hanging those ornaments on the tree. Instantly I am sent back to our house, sitting on Christmas morning wondering how she knew exactly what I had asked Santa for, looking at her in admiration and great gratitude.
Pretty Sande was amazing, unlike any other woman I have ever met. (for those of you who are new, that is what everyone called my mother. She was Pretty everything ... funny, smart, compassionate, loving, sarcastic, attractive, ballsy...you name it and she was it 100%). She and I would laugh for hours on end, cry together as not to be so alone, support each other through thick and thin all the while learning with love how to get through those tough times. She was my best friend, my rock when I needed her to be, my parent when I needed her to be and absolutely the #1 fan of my life.
It was a Mother ornament of hers that got me this year. The way it was hanging on the tree, sweet face looking up to the heavens holding a trophy saying Most Outstanding Mom. I miss her with my whole heart. It will be my tenth year without her, which is a decade of Christmas' of hanging those ornaments, both hers and mine. It makes me so thankful for traditions and the weight it carries later into life. I also have a tree full of son ornaments, maybe someday they will hang those on their trees and tell stories of how awesome their mom was and what she accomplished along the way.
Then again, lets hope I am THERE to set the story straight! HA!