For the past few days I have been trying to write this post in such a way as to not come across as an ungrateful, spoiled brat.
Hard to do when I have been exactly that.
As everyone knows, I love to decorate for Christmas. (If you don’t know that then either we haven’t met or you’re not paying attention.) I don’t just love to decorate; I aspire to be the talk of the neighborhood. I compete with neighbors to have the most lights, the most blow up decorations, the brightest house in the court.
I don’t know what it is like getting through December without having to flip the breaker switch when I want to use my hair dryer. I have been known to put one too many strings together outside – enough to blow the whole display.
Here it is December 15 and I only have a few decorations outside! I could blame the weather (and believe me, I will) but it isn’t just that. I have been busy at work and busy taking care of Robert and his increasing needs. I have had help from the kids in the past but they are out of the house and living their lives! How dare they!
Plus, it has been raining like crazy! Good for the California drought; bad for my Christmas lights.
The inside decorations even got a late start. I have been telling myself that it’s okay. My deadline is December 24, after all.
We have a large outdoor shed with our Christmas decorations. The shed is the size of a bedroom – a bedroom! Full of Christmas decorations! Which is awesome although quite daunting when my to-do list is ridiculously overloaded and those aforementioned kids are no longer around to haul boxes inside in assembly line fashion.
I had the brilliant idea of letting myself off the hook. I’ll take it slow, I said. I will just do what I can as time allows.
Then the calendar turned to December 2nd and I was back to “OH MY GOD! I HAVE TO DECORATE THE HOUSE!”
I hauled the boxes in, separating inside and outside décor. Having the rain helped me prioritize: inside first. Richard and I took Robert to the local hardware store to buy not one but two Christmas trees. I love having two trees – I had two growing up and think it just stuck in my brain that was just the right amount to have. (Of course, this isn’t the seventies so our tree is not the classy artificial white one with red ornaments.)
Richard and I usually get a very large tree for the front room and a smaller one for the family room where Robert spends most of his time. I mean, we have to leave room for Robert. I get it - I'm not crazy, you know.
This year, I had every intention of getting one huge tree and one smaller tree but realized we needed to get two smaller trees. Richard’s back was already killing him when we were picking out the trees and I could barely stand them up to find the best one. Robert found the one for his room in two seconds flat – his were easy to stand up and turn around.
“That’s a good one," he said after the second spin. Sold!
Richard and struggled with the ten foot trees and I finally looked at him and said we should get a smaller tree. Let’s get a six foot tree. That way, we can get both of them in the house without causing enough pain to warrant a three day recovery period. It would be easy to set up and decorate. Sold!
Both trees actually fit on top of Richard’s SUV and neither fell off! (Not that that’s ever happened to us.)
We got them in the house and set up and took our time decorating them. Just because we could. (And, you know, because the kids weren’t around. Kids – growing up and living their life; the nerve!)
But during this week, I found myself calling the living room tree my “Charlie Brown” tree. Yes, I was calling my six foot full tree a Charlie Brown tree.
Even I knew how ridiculous I sounded so didn’t dare say this out loud. Goodness! How ungrateful could I be? I have two six foot trees in my house!
As we put on the decorations, both trees came to life. Robert sat in his wheelchair and put ornaments on the tree. I found a holiday music station on the television and we listened to classic holiday music.
Robert, much to my surprise, even sang along to a song or two!
We drank hot chocolate and busily unwrapped the decorations and slowly but steadily emptied the boxes.
The trees are done, the indoor décor boxes have been put in the shed and my house is starting to look like Christmas. The outside still needs work but that will come along. I still have time! If we don’t win the unofficial (aka, existing only in my head) neighborhood decorating contest, that will be okay.
I think. Unless my Spoiled Rotten self returns.
Oh, I better get back out there – rain or no rain.
There are some traditions I just can’t give up!