The sun is shining brightly through my family-room window this morning. The cat and I are curled up on the sofa soaking it in. Reminds me of the song from the musical Annie, “The sun will come out tomorrow. . . . “ If my faith has taught me anything, it’s that the sun WILL come out. No matter how sad or hard or scary life seems to get, eventually the sun will come out.
This week has turned out totally different than I expected a week ago. We were supposed to be hosting my cousin and family from Lubbock for a fun week of family time, sharing the holiday spirit and our love of North Carolina. With that in mind, last Friday hubby and I pulled out the Christmas decor. It was my intention to fully deck the halls before they arrived. And as we all know, when you start that process the house has to look a whole lot worse before it gets better. Holiday flotsam and jetsam strewn about, tinsel in a tangle everywhere. Then, when we received the call about Jesse, we just stopped, shoved the boxes into corners, and got on with the hard work of walking my brother and Sebastian through their darkest days. And though, by no means, are their dark days totally behind them, the sun came out today and it’s time for me to return to the boxes in the corner.
Now anyone who knows me knows I normally LOVE to decorate for Christmas. And I’m very sentimental about it. Every ornament, every tchotchke holds meaning for me. Many of these ornaments were gifts from dear friends. My sweet mother has gifted me some very special treasures over the years. Our tree is adorned with the painted shells from a beach trip, cowboys from Texas, pictures of grandboys and my nephew, all alongside fragile Christopher Radco ornaments. There are needlepoint ornaments I made eons ago when I had time for crafty things in my life. Pretty much every vacation we ever took is represented, and this year I will add my Downtown Abby and Buckingham Palace ornaments. I have a whole box of ornaments from my childhood, looking a little worse for the wear, but precious to me for the memories they evoke.
As when I was a child, my own children received a special ornament every year. These ornaments represented their lives at the time: dance, sports, butterflies, UNC, the Bahamas (where my son lived for a year after high school working for the Methodist church). My daughter, Ashlee, has long ago taken her ornaments to decorate her own tree, but I still have all of Garrett’s. Living in Los Angeles has prohibited him from packing them in a suitcase, or shipping them off to be stored in his small abodes over the years. So, I have a second smaller tree that I decorate with his ornaments. It’s a bit more guy-themed and really fun, located in our so-called “man cave”.
And then there are the nativity sets. I have several that I place all over the house. Traditional, folksy, child-friendly, and unique….I love them all. They are the “decorations” that remind us WHY we do all this crazy Christmas stuff. All the rest would mean nothing without the nativity.
But the luster has rubbed off the process a bit. Our Lubbock family has postponed their trip until spring. We won’t be sharing the fun activities I’d been planning. We are all feeling a bit Grinch-ish. However, the decorating must get done and presents must get wrapped and the cookies must get baked. There are young children counting on the magic of Christmas to happen no matter what. And somewhere in these acts our hearts will get refilled. I’m counting on it. I’m praying for it. Today is step one. Today is tomorrow.