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, but...no...I 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, honey...you 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. But...you 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...