The white lights of the Christmas tree shining make me feel calm and soothed. The glow illuminates not just light but warmth, the warmth of having loved ones close to you. My children do not live in town so I want all the time with them that is possible. I find it difficult to not measure how much time they spend with this relative or that relative. Have you ever done that? I remember my mom getting upset that my out-of town sister spent more time with her in-laws than with my parents when she visited.
Well now that my kids live between Columbus and the west coast, I try to find peace with that , finding my own way, my friends, living with the quiet. Funny, I can’t help but think of the times during those shared parenting moments that I was alone. For the last 10 years Mom and Dad lived with me. So Christmases were not quite alone. I could wander in and out of their in-law suite. This was the first year they are in assisted living and that was another adjustment.
My dad has become very minimalist. He wanted no part of a Christmas tree. What no Christmas tree! Christmas trees bring me to all those years as a child remembering my mom carefully retrieving the ornaments that she had since they were first married in 1951. All the times she yelled at my dad or us because we weren’t hanging the tinsel carefully enough or what about the years he cemented the tree into a pail so it had no chance of falling over.
Now, tinsel, what tinsel! When I brought a 2-foot tree to their little apartment, my dad scoffed at the idea. “How will I turn it on?” “I will trip over it!” “Too Much trouble”. “Takes up too much room”. I removed the objections one by one, adding a remote control so with the press of a button it was on or off, tucked it into a corner so it was out of the way and skipped the tinsel and ornaments. Just the colored lights! Ha, settled. He took the remote in hand and proceeded to joke with the next aide that walked in. He smiled and told her to clap her hands. Magic! The tree was lit! Let the season be bright.