While contemplating when I was going to summon up the energy to get the Christmas tree down, one of my daughters asked yet again if we could keep it up all year. I smiled my condescending adult smile, said I understood, but…no.
Seeing her face, I relented and told her to pull out a few favorite ornaments. We’d find a spot for them. Translation: I’ll wait a few days until I’m pretty sure you won’t notice and I’ll put them away.
But I’m learning something about her. She does notice. Things are not forgotten, nor are they forgiven. She stays quiet, but every now and then it comes up again. Resentments about the fast pace of life lie buried in the soft sand at the bottom of her soul. Little landmines.
This highlights my own ulterior motives. After years of chaos, which I haven’t forgotten or forgiven, my war against household chaos seems to have taken a small turn in my favor. There is more order in our house. I feel good. I’m getting a protectively militant about it. They’re old enough to understand. Mommy’s need for order needs to win, hands down. Not finding a lot of inner flexibility on this one.
But then she said, “Why can’t we keep it up, put the Christmas stuff away and put other stuff like Valentine’s stuff up?” I paused. We have a small fake tree because live evergreen gives Rick headaches. I’ve cringed inside about it for the last few years, but in this situation, it is an asset.
The tree doesn’t take up much space, it isn’t a fire hazard and doesn’t drop needles. I”ve never been one to go over the top on holiday decorations – I aim for a very ungirly refined and tasteful — and I know she’d like a little more blatant festivity around the house.
I used to make nature tables to create an awareness of cycles and seasons. I’ve let that drop off, but this could be a nice way to bring it back. It might also be a gentle way to help her choose looking ahead instead of hanging on. An experiment.
So recently I put away everything except the tree and few ornaments. Two heart ornaments are hanging expectantly on the top. A small tribe of armless nutcrackers stand sentry at the bottom, while an angel huddles underneath with a reindeer holding a kayak. This tree may not make it past February 14, and I can hardly imagine this scraggly thing covered in red, white and blue bunting, but soon, the tree will be filled with hearts. What’s not to like?