Two sentimental posts in a row? What’s going on? I’m thinking I may need to change the name of my blog. Need less touchy-feely stuff and more cranky! But anyhoo, my youngest and I decorated the tree last night and I remembered I had written this little piece some years ago. I thought I’d share. I hope all of you are creating your own special holiday memories and having plenty of touchy-feely moments. Do share in the comments!
I was decorating my family’s Christmas tree last night and as I was carefully hanging the keepsake ornaments for my children that I buy every year, a light bulb turned on in my head. I had this urge to call my mother, who now lives over four hours away, instead of a close 40 minutes. I wanted to tell her that I finally get it! After all these years and after having my own two children, I finally get it!
Once my sister and I reached our teens, we teased our mother relentlessly about her tacky Christmas decorations. We would laugh and laugh as one by one she would pull these handmade creations, if you may, out of the box. There was this hand sewn lemon, yes, lemon. I’m not sure how it was related to Christmas. There were the many handmade ornaments that her two daughters made, typical of elementary school children. One Christmas, my mother actually put up the red and green construction paper chain I made. I recall the paper angel I made with my school picture as the face. I made it in second grade. I remember proudly requesting it be the tree topper.
So when my mother finally did decide to go all out and decorate her tree “Martha Stuart” style–No, no jail stripes on the tree, think WAY before the scandal–my sister and I started asking her where the lemon was. And where were the decorated eggshells that some friend had given her years and years ago? She had a new tree and decorated it with beautiful ivory and gold colored balls, beads and ribbons. It looked beautiful. Nowhere on the tree was any handmade anything.
I hadn’t thought about the whole tree decorating matter until last night when I stood there staring at the ornaments I plan on keeping for a lifetime. My toddler son hung up some of the ornaments I had and I was surprised to find myself thinking how sentimental it all was. And I had this strange yearning for handmade concoctions made by my son’s own two hands. I wished I had something to hang on the tree that came from his day school. I wanted a whole tree of construction paper cut-outs and homemade snowflakes. I wanted it all.
That’s when I realized that I finally get it. The most beautiful Christmas tree is one that is decorated with the sweet memories of life: the children’s artwork, the labor of a good friend, the old shabby ornament from “youngster” hood. I find myself anxiously awaiting the time when my tree will be filled with such treasures. And then when my children grow old enough to not “get it,” I’ll probably have to endure their tree taunting like my own mother did. Then someday when they have their own family, they will “get it” again.