Even so, I come to you with a happy heart.
Warren was gone again this weekend, which left my trusty Pooch, Patches, and I to our own devices once again.
Know what we did, Journeyer?
I sorted all the gifts I’ve collected during the past year, set up our six-foot folding table in the living room, and began wrapping.
With a Christmas movie marathon playing in the background I checked my list and checked it twice.
Our Christmas tree cast a dim glow across my living room.
Every year since 1987, Warren and I and the kids have cut down a fresh tree. For years we cut the tree off our own farm, and when we exhausted all of those young trees, we started visiting local tree farms.
It has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions, one that has produced many family tales sure to live on for generations to come. One of the ever present stories is the one of how Mama can spend hours in the fields searching for the right tree, only to come back to the first one we discovered.
This year, however, with all of the kiddos away and us heading south to spend a long overdue holiday season with my side of the family, I talked Warren into purchasing a pre-lit tree, one that I won’t have to worry about while we’re away and one I’ll be able to enjoy into February.
She’s gorgeous, Journeyer.
I took an hour or so on Wednesday night, made a bunch of homemade bows and then decorated the tree.
I began a collection of ornaments for each of my children, a tradition that began with each one’s birth. Each piece represents some vacation we took or some event in their life…a horse for the beginning of riding lessons…a first deer… or a symbol of their college’s mascot…
This year, in my children’s absences, most of the ornaments I selected came from the handmade pieces my grandmother and grandfather made for me when I was growing up.
It was a little bittersweet, the first time decorating the tree by myself. As much as my aging kids groaned and tried to rush through decorating the tree, I still cherished every ornament and every ounce of family that went into decorating our trees.
Every afternoon in between work shifts and every night I’d sit with it glowing in the background and the spirit of the season would fill me with joy.
Though this year’s tree lacks those other familial touches, the spirit of what was and the promise of what might be fills the air.
I love Christmas.
I love the sunshine that graced these northeast skies last week.
I love the moderate temperatures and the fact that I actually took the time to take my pup and me for a walk, to get outside and “blow the stink off,” as one of my old relatives used to say. Hmmm… I wish I could recall who said that!
Big Guy is doing well in college, has made many new friends, is taking care of himself, and enjoying life.
Beauty has started a new job, has a new-ish boyfriend who adores her and treats her well, and she, too, seems to be enjoying life.
Fave will need surgery, is in the absolute best of medical hands, continues to be well with his long-time girlfriend, and is living the life of his dreams.
Warren and I continue to grow, to learn, and are establishing a bond much deeper and far richer than anything we’ve ever known.
Those things, Journeyer, put the bounce back in my step when a crotchety cold hangs on and when life tosses little curve balls.
That bounce, Journeyer, is part of what feeds my happy.
What about you?
What moment(s) put a bounce in your step, a song in your heart, or helped you bounce back from something unsettling? Please share something in the comment below; you never know when your story will ripple out and make someone’s day.
Together, Journeyer, we can heal a world of hurt and sharing our joy(s) brings hope, healing, and happiness to those whose hearts need a little light.
Until we meet again, be well and warm…