Like most children, Christmas was always my favorite time of year. I have vivid memories of our tree - the way it looked with tinsel icicles flowing and colored lights, the way it smelled, and of decorating it every year with you. I remember specific ornaments, some of which you have already given me, and some that I can't wait to get my hands on and put on my tree every year. There were these wooden ones (which I know you didn't keep) that were decoupaged and shellacked on the front, and every year we had to pull them apart as they would stick together in the box of ornaments. There was a little red bird that had wire on its feet you could wrap around the branch. There were these ornaments made from an eggshell that my grandmother made. And most importantly there was that ugly Santa face we had to put atop the tree because it was your sister's. We would look at it each year and confirm its ugliness and our love for him, and then put him in his spot.
Basically, I remember a lot about Christmas in my home as a child. We did the same things every year, and you and dad always seemed so excited and happy. You never seemed stressed. You always let me help, and you never seemed bothered to have me there.
As my kids get older, I just don't know how you did it, Mom. I don't know how you let me decorate the tree with you and not lose your cool. I don't know how you listened to the hours of questions - How many days? Is that my present? Can I put that ornament on the tree? Can I turn on the lights? - without your head spinning completely around and then popping off. I don't know where you found the patience and energy to put up with me and my two brothers.
So did you really never lose your cool? Or did you just hide it well? Did you think you would die when you had to go behind me and fix all the ornaments I had hung? Did you just wish I wouldn't make up and sing my own Christmas carols over and over and over and over again? Please tell me that you felt all these things and you hid them fairly well. Or at least well enough that I never remembered...
Please tell me that my kids will one day look back and only remember the fact that they got to help with the ornaments and not the fact that I forbid them to touch certain ones or dared to move five ornaments that they hung on the same branch. I only hope I am building fond memories my kids will have forever... and that when they have kids of their own, they'll appreciate the work I've done along the years half as much as I appreciate yours!
Thanks so much, Mom! Thanks for my beautiful childhood!
P.S. I am truly sorry if I ever hung five ornaments on the same branch of the tree... I'm pretty sure I did. Probably more than once.