Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Past and Present

OK,  so I know we've not posted our Thanksgiving blog yet - it will come.  But today Max and I put the rest of the ornaments on our tree.  Most of our ornaments are rather old though some are brand new, like the one we bought in Muir Woods when we went hiking there two years ago on Christmas morning.  We were back on Wentworth last year, but arrived back just before Christmas and had hardly unpacked and just didn't feel like putting up a tree.  Lots of stuff was going on last year with the early return from San Francisco, my job tenative, and Max without a job. 

Every year since me and my brood arrived from Oklahoma, Don and Amber would get up one Saturday morning and head to the Christmas Tree Farm.  Every year I'd tell them to show restraint- but not those two- not when it comes to Christmas Trees!  So each year the challenge was would that tree really, really fit in the house- and how much furniture would we need to move.  But this year Am is in Chicago- busy- oh so busy- with her own life- So I stepped up to the plate and with Sarah and Deseree and Anthony we headed to The Farm to pick our tree.

I did "assist" Don in showing just a tiny bit of restraint- but more because those 3 more feet for the tree he pointed out was $100 more!
But this year we have a new room to put a tree in and new hope for the future.  We even bought all new lights to put on the tree, LED micro lights that project their colored lights all around the wall of the room.

And as we put all of our ornaments on the tree we found those that we bought 16 years ago as we were celebrating our first Christmas as a new blended family.  Well, you all know that blending doesn't alway work without a lot of work and energy.  Max worked hard those first few years and on that first year she thought we could feel more like a family by demonstrating it on our tree.  So eight new ornaments were special ordered and bought just to show what a family we were.
Christmas has always been a mixed bag for me- the highest of highs- the lowest of lows.  Somehow you just can't be "neutral" at Christmas.  And when the kids were growing up it was all so very often exhausting- And  I was already running on empty.  But I love, I love Christmas trees.  And I always get a little teary when I take out the ornaments and remember... 
(Just a note- I did not grow up with a "live" tree- and the only tree I remember at all from Christmas in my childhood home was the aluminum tree with the color wheel- no ornaments at all.  You can check it out at: .)
But 16 years ago- I picked out those 8 ornaments- for my new family- with the hope that by placing them on that very first tree the magic of Christmas might take hold.  It's not been quite so easy.  But each year when I take out those ornaments- and all the others from all the past years I get misty eyed at all the blessings of family- of my family- in all its complexity.  Christmas at it's best lets us sit in the dark and look at the lights that reflect on our treasures from all our years together.

We know much better now.  You just can't take three from one family and four from another and have it add up to seven.  The math works, but the social structure doesn't.  Instead we now have multiple family units that all are loosely or tightly linked to each other, but are formed by friendships across and between family ties.  Max and I are the hub of the spokes of this wheel that gets together on rare occasions in whole and more often as small groups.  But this tree this year,as many in the past brings them all together.  It works for us and works for them too.
So know that this Christmas season I'll be spending a lot of time just sitting in our new "porch" and gazing at our tree- and remembering... and dreaming... and probably even getting misty eyed every now and again at how very, very blessed I am. 


Amber said...

worst christmas ever was after we had moved in to the "poor" house and somehow all of our ornaments got thrown out in the move. i think that was the only time i've seen brandy and clint really upset. then we went to walmart picked and we each got to pick out a few and then we made the rest out of construction paper and old photos.

Brandy said...

Thanks Am, I was hoping Mom would forget about that! Very nice blog Mom and Don and the tree looks fantastic!

Lucas said...

First, your tree looks like a Christmas carnival. I love it! And I want to come back and sleep in MY room with all those lights on and drift off to dream gazing at that tree.

Second, and most important, families ARE complex and messy and HARD but few things in life are more worth it all in the end. Because whatever happens with the rest of the world, you will always have your family. Always. And that's just the best Christmas gift of all!

Liz said...

Your tree is beautiful!

T-Bird said...

Your tree is beautiful and so is your story, even the hard parts. I got tears just looking at the pictures. I so wish I could be there to share it with you