Y'all may recall that I have sometimes referred to Thanksgiving as little more than a speed bump on the road to Christmas. This year (as I noted yesterday), Thanksgiving was really wonderful, and I was grateful for the slowing down, the taking pause, the bit of tuning out I was able to do.
On Sunday, however, I could wait to start Christmas no longer. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! On went the carols, out came the decorations, up went the wreaths. The kids and I were determined to get our tree.
Someone very important to Tom, a mentor of his not much older than we are, passed away suddenly just about ten days ago. It has really shaken Tom, and our hearts ache for the wife and children this man left behind. As he mourns, I have tried to give my dear T some extra love and care and space when he needs it. On Sunday, he desperately needed to burn some stress and so I sent him to the tennis court with a bucket of balls.
In the meantime, and because T always wants a smaller tree than I feel is acceptable, the kids and I walked to a Christmas tree lot that pops up each year just around the corner from where our new house stands. Isn't that a magnificent coincidence?
We picked out a towering fir, and emboldened by the fact that there no sibling fighting occurred during the choosing of said tree, I said, "Boys, we are awesome. Let's walk this puppy home!"
As the man helping us gave our tree a fresh cut and shook all the old needles free from its boughs, I regaled the kids with the story of the Christmas in New York in which I bought a tree, dragged it several blocks up Lexington Avenue and up the four flights of stairs to my tiny studio, and set it up in a stand ALL WHILE WEARING a skirt and heels.
"So you see, boys, we three have got this made."
I took the trunk end while they flanked the lighter top, and we started our 0.3 mile trek home.
People, an eight-foot fir is not a lightweight item. We were all sweating and covered with sap and Ol said a branch hit him in the penis and Jack exclaimed that he was surely acquiring a bruise and we took many breaks and I am certain people were thinking, "WTF is that family doing!?!"
At some point, Tom called and asked where we were. I told him we were walking the tree home, and he was like, "You're walking the tree home? Do you want me to bring the car?"
"No," said I. "We are intrepid."
About 45 seconds later, he showed up in the car. We had gone approximately 0.2 miles. My arms appeared to have cramped into 45-degree limbs, and so I agreed to let T put the trunk of the tree into the trunk of the car, and then I insisted on walking behind the car so I could hold up the top of the tree so it didn't become disfigured in any way.
You can imagine what this parade looked like. One dear neighbor put her hands on her hips and just laughed. I mean, what else would you do? I said, "Can you tell we didn't really think this through?"
And we all laughed together.
And now our tree is up and perfect and it makes Oliver and me deeply joyous and Jack a little bit less so, and I think Tom is totally ambivalent but he did buy us new lights because we lost the others in the move and now instead of five strands that I had to crimp together we have just one and it's full of LEDs and those things are both so nice.
The tree is now dripping with ornaments. Most of those are treasures that elicit a range of happy memories.
The glass typewriter I gave Nanny ages and ages ago after she had a stroke and couldn't write well and so started to type letters to me? Mom gave it to me after Nanny died, and I cherish it.
The perler bead ornaments that map the kids' passions over time? I love them- from utter nonsense to Minecraft to a periodic table, they remind me of my boys' curiosity and enthusiasm.
The many fleur-de-lis I've collected and been gifted? You know just whose tree this is.
The red cardinals? Those are a tradition in Tom's extended family, and I love the sweet material depictions of all a marriage brings together.
The stuffed felt Enemen (enema men), courtesy of a Fleet pharmaceutical rep who visited my dad twenty years ago? Those are campy vintage awesomeness.
The collection of Bronners ornaments? Those have been given to us and the boys, a new one for each over the years, by my Mom. She has beautiful and fun taste.
And on and memorably on.