This Monday morning I come to you weary from a lack of sleep due to a cold that just won’t let go.
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…
It is funny how after all these years our lives mirror one another so many times… I do believe our souls are connected Anna Elizabeth. I too for the first time ever decorated my Christmas tree by myself. The giant tree went up on Sunday but no one had time to decorate it and I too have a cold and did not feel up to the task so it got left for another time….
The next evening after a long day at work I was feeling tired, overwhelmed and full of this cold and I laid down on the couch and started to feel sorry for myself as I stared at the barren tree. It was getting late and it actually crossed my mind that perhaps this year we would not decorate it but just ” go with the flow” and have just the white pre-lit lights. After a bit of contemplation I suddenly decided now was the time to get out the giant ladder and tackle this thing despite the hour and the runny nose. After lugging in the 12′ foot ladder and the container of ornaments I began the task at hand.
I turned on the TV and found a Christmas Lights TV special and began the journey down memory lane with each precious ornament. Unwrapping ornaments is a bit like the surprise on Christmas morning as each one is all wrapped up in paper and you don’t know what you have in hand until you open in….. Then the journey down memory lane begins ….. The beautiful glass Santa’s my dear, late mother-in-law had once treasured so…,. All the ornaments from journeys we have taken as a family…the precious homemade handprints from a tiny boy who is now a grown man… The porcelain baby shoes in remembrance of a lost pregnancy…the glass ball hand painted with the message “the best parents make the best grandparents “…. That the grown man gave me last Christmas as his way of telling me I was going to be a grandmother…my spirits rose with each treasure as I unwrapped all the memories and my mood went from self pity to one of realizing my cup overflows.
It has been a hard year this 2015…. Two surgeries for my husband … One for me… Our circle was broken with the loss of a dear, precious loved one after months of watching cancer slowly take him away… Layoffs in our company… Lost business opportunities that had been a hearts desire…. But there has been much joy too…the birth of a healthy grandchild… Reestablishing broken relationships … Learning to trust in God’s plan for my life… Finding the beauty in the things and the people that surround me… Learning it’s ok not to control everything….I now smile to myself on the phone as I talk to my mother as tells me the same story 5 times in a 45 minute phone call that I have hardly said a single word in… Just because I am thankful to still be able to hear her voice. My life is a journey …good some days & bad some days but never the same … And I am learning to trust ( slowly but surely) in the journey…
Ah, Sherry…thank you for sharing these precious moments that fed your happy! The world needs so many of these stories, more focus on the things that lift us up as opposed to the continuous newsreels that break us down… I especially love last years “new baby announcement!” And the porcelain shoes…and the beautiful analogy of how the unwrapping of each ornament is a little like a Christmas morning surprise. That is definitely how I feel as I make my way through my tote.
Thank you for reading, for sharing, and for bringing more happy to my day! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Journeyer! <3