Friday, December 06, 2013

The wonderful surprise

I came home from work last night, dead tired. As usual. It's the Christmas season and yes, I am feeling the good will and happiness, was not looking forward to having to put up all the decorations. The tree, which I ADORE, has been in my family since I was a baby. I procured it because none of my sisters wanted it and were going to give it to Goodwill. I was baffled. That tree is GORGEOUS. Why wouldn't anyone want it? It is an old aluminum one with a color wheel. Looks just like this:

We put giant gumdrops on the ends of the "branches" because Socks is prone to knocking into them and a few years ago, got poked in the eye with one.

But, there are the wreaths for the doors. The stockings to be hung over the fireplace. The special Christmas angel candles. The nativity.

I'm not a religious person, but the nativity was given to me by my Mother when I turned 18. She had purchased them for all her daughters. So, it is sentimental to me. Plus, when Liv was little, she loved to do as I did as a child: move the wise men closer and closer to the manger in the barn, until by Christmas, they were right there.

So much unpacking of ornaments, almost ALL of them dear to us in some way. Many made by Liv in various grades of school.

I admit that I was dreading it this year.

Plus....the Christmas cards. The baking. The making of small bags of Russian lavender, basil, sage, chives and rosemary that we make every year to give to our neighbors, friends and family. All dried out in our basement, just waiting for us to slice, dice and gently tear.

But, last night when I came home, Jimmy Dean's Christmas album was playing on the stereo. And I noticed a cheery red Christmas bow on the back door. When I walked into the kitchen from the back door, the house smelled delicious. Like....sugar cookies. I walked over to Bing, who was stirring something on the stove and kissed her.

"Oh, are gonna LOVE this!" she said, and gestured for me to keep walking.

A glow was coming from the sun porch.

And there....up and perfectly decorated, gum drops and all, was our Christmas tree. Tinton and Liv were standing happily next to it, arms around each other. Jimmy Dean was singing in the background about how, if he could, he'd have a Christmas room all year round.

I was happily astonished. The tree was up. The nativity was up. All of the Christmas decorations were up. And there was more. Liv led me to the dining room table to show me several plates of decorated sugar cookies, all ready to deliver to neighbors.

"All that's left is the bagging of the herbs," Liv said. "We were pretty sure that you'd want to be a part of that."

I just stood there amazed. Liv's face went flat.

"Mama? Was this okay? Please don't be mad. Dad called me in sick today and we spent the day baking and decorating the sugar cookies for the neighbors and drop ins and we put up all the decorations. know....we can just...yes...we can take them all down and put them up....again?"

I finally had the sense to look over at her and immediately went to hug her.

"Sweetheart, I'm not MAD, I'm just so, so, so. THRILLED at all of this. This is INCREDIBLE. This is WONDERFUL. And you even have Jimmy Dean playing on the stereo. I'm just so...relieved."

And then I flat out embarrassed myself by bursting into tears. I hadn't realized just how much I was dreading putting up everything and baking, etc. And now....WOW. It was like..poof...done.

So then Tinton and Liv had to immediately come over and fuss over me. Even Socks got into it, clawing up his way into my lap to lick my face. Bing came hurriedly into the sun room, a towel over her shoulder, worried.

In the end, I convinced them that I was absolutely gobsmacked with joy that this was all done. And we had a wonderful dinner of chili and corn bread with chocolate pudding for dessert.

We Whos down in Whoville are feeling pretty Christmasy right now. The presents are rapidly accumulating under the tree. And Tinton brought out his guitar to play with Bing while Liv played on the piano with the tree glistening in our windows in the sun room, which is perfect for it as it has windows on all three sides.

It was almost the Waltons for fuck sakes. I felt like saying, "Goodnight, John Boy!" when we all drifted up to bed.

But, how wonderful. The house is decorated. The cookies are baked. And Jimmy Dean was on the stereo, singing this:

All I need now is to hear my Da singing "Edelweiss" and I will spend the day crying...


Steph Lovelady said...

What a nice surprise for you. I notice this when we're at the beach with relatives, but sometimes having extra adults around makes all the difference in terms of domestic work.

ChiTown Girl said...

The best Christmas present ever... =)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This post made me feel all Christmassy :) I love the Jimmy Dean Christmas album!

Josie Two Shoes said...

Beautiful! The very best gift they could have given you. Now you can sit back and enjoy, and not have to dread the process! Your Christmas elves are the best! :-)

e said...

Lucky you, Maria! We have the niece coming for the weekend and will spend large chunks of time decorating and whatnot. I, too, feel the dread. But, I think it will be more fun with a young person assisting. And, it will be done.

I hope you dream of your Da singing...


Mitchell is Moving said...

We have more than 60 Christmas albums. And NO Jimmy Dean. Hard to believe.

Love the idea of the gum drops. It must look like a storybook tree... well a storybook ALUMINUM tree!

Joanne Noragon said...

Lovely. I didn't cry, but I did smile.
The first year I had no daughters at home at Christmas, I looked around and said Oh, Well.
Timmy, across the street, who still lived in my house after school, went in the attic one day, got everything and put it all up. I felt just like you when I got home from work.

Danielle L Zecher said...

What a great surprise to come home to! That's so cool that so many of your Christmas things are so old and sentimental. My parents don't celebrate. I was 26 when I had my first Christmas tree, so I don't have anything like that from my side of the family. Hubby's a Christmas Eve baby, so fortunately, he has lots of sentimental Christmas things from his side of the family.

I'm impressed that all of the baking is done, too! I've started, but still have a long way to go. :-)

the only daughter said...

Neat. Happy holidays.

lily cedar said...

Sounds lovely. Merry Christmas!

kristi said...

What a fantastic surprise!

Teacher Cynthia said...

How wonderful... truly.

Eric said...

That is awesome!

pawsingtospeak said...

What a great suprise! As I was putting the lights on the tree last night - the thought of a prelit fake tree actually went through my head!

Glad you get to enjoy it now that it is all up... We just have a tree and lights at this point - but it is all good.