If it was not ambitious enough to attempt to take a family photo, I also decided that we should decorate the house for Christmas this weekend. And if I had not learned my lesson already about the most realistic place to set the bar (very, very low), I did so after trying to force some family togetherness while we adorned the house. The Christmas season in my head is so different from the holiday that plays out in reality. Of course it is. We don’t live in Victorian Era Europe. Somehow, I grew up believing (and I have not been able to shake it) that at Christmastime there would be warm fires after horse drawn sleigh rides, fresh cut Christmas trees, new velvet dresses, real garland with oranges and cloves, someone playing the fiddle while we danced by candlelight; and nutcrackers that come alive while we slumber.
I keep telling The Mr. that we should cut down our tree- that it would be so much fun. Oh, but it isn’t. My parents did take us on a couple of occasions when we were very little- to cut down our Christmas tree in the country. It was bitterly cold and the snow on the ground was up to our waists. The snow that continued to fall stuck to us and we looked like puffy snow men, struggling to stay adrift. It felt like we walked for miles before we found a hardy tree. My father’s saw blade was too dull, and there was some heated frustration. One of us, maybe all of us, were crying to go back home-now!- while my father struggled to drag the tree (whose needles were already spilling on the ground) back to the car. And, then we had to ride the hour back home- defrosting, holding our bladders and probably sulking in trouble for not being good sports about it all. At least The Mr. has a better sense of holiday reality and does not bend to my tree cutting whims.
This weekend, as the older three were competing over who got to put the first ornament on the tree, and arguing over which nutcrackers belonged to which kid, I realized that it is The Baby’s first Christmas. For the next month, there will be so many baubles and trinkets and glittering things to keep her entertained (and in trouble). It will all be so fresh and new to her. I gazed upon her sitting on the floor examining a plush bean baggy snow person that was as tall as she is sitting. She tentatively sat beside it locked in a staring contest. Slowly, cautiously she reached out her hand and poked its plastic carrot nose. The snow person bobbled back and forth. The Baby lit up. She began to babble strings of consonants and vowels I had not heard from her before. She was having a conversation. She thought he was real. She embraced him and squealed with delight. I know Christmas is supposed to be about so many things- faith (which I have very little of), charity, family, cookies, etc. But the baby reminded me that it is also a time for wonderment. As one year draws to an end, what better way is there to enter a new year, a new season, than with a sense of wonder?
The children did manage to pull it all together. The house looks warm and inviting all ablaze with thousands of little white lights. I can almost see them now, our army of nutcracker princes and misfits enlivened by our holiday magic, dancing by the artificial light while visions of sugar plums dance in our heads.
I must express my deep gratitude to Mustang Sally for mentioning me and my blog in her blog. I think that she is an amazing photographer and a fabulously entertaining writer. In the spirit of friendship and wonder, I would like to share her blog with you, as well as a couple of others that I follow. I have not yet learned how to link anything via html (I'll get there, I promise). Here is Mustang Sally's blog, Functional Kaos :http://functionalkaos.blogspot.com/
You should also check out my friend, Corrie Wachob's blog: http://corriewachob.blogspot.com/ She is going to be super famous very, very soon. She is a gifted young adult novelist. And she is just an all around awesomely inspiring and devastatingly beautiful person.
And, because she is everything I aspire to be as a mother and because I often forget to stop and recognize that my glass is truly half full (not empty as I often lament to myself that it is), I enjoy reading Kelle Hampton's blog, Enjoying the Small Things http://www.kellehampton.com/