Oh Christmas Tree

It's January 3rd.

Tomorrow, my children return to school.  No more sleeping in.  No more lounging around.  No more letting them eat whatever they want for lunch as long as they make it and it's not candy or involves syrup.  No more curling up in the big chair with my laptop and a steaming cup of coffee, taking my time to wake up and get moving.

In other words, back to normal.  Sigh.

It's January 3rd.  It's time to begin dismantling the holidays.  I looked around tonight and my heart sank.  My home always feels so warm during the holidays...I'm not ready to give that up just yet.  I love the greenery and the lights and the festive twinkle everywhere (and I am not afraid of the festive twinkle, my friends).  At Christmas time, I pull out all my favorite things -- my ancient, falling-apart cellulose Santas and their reindeer, my mercury glass collection, fresh greens in every bowl and vase, my Christmas ornament collection cultivated lovingly over my entire life (and that now includes ornaments for each of my children cultivated over their entire lives), my glass icicles and antique five-and-dime store glass balls that have become cloudy with age but were my grandparents', my strange assortment of folk art angels that my mom decided she didn't want any more -- everything has a memory or just makes me happy.  But it can't stay up forever.

Or can it?

I mentioned that I need to start dismantling the tree tonight to Little Meems.

"Oh no, mommy, not just yet!" At the age of 12, if she's calling me mommy she's really in need of me understanding her.  "It makes me so happy to come downstairs and see the tree.  I know Christmas is over, but there's just something about the way it makes me feel when I see it, like hopeful or something."

We have spent the better part of our holiday vacation visiting with family.  She has soaked up every moment of it, for no one loves family more than she does.  It is not unusual for her to cry pulling out of a cousin's driveway, or watching her grandparents drive away.  Nothing makes her happier than being surrounded by the people she loves most in the world and who love her just as much.  As we are coming off of 2 weeks of nonstop family and fun and travel and laughter and holiday magic, I can see that to take the tree down would destroy her right now.

It's a beautiful tree.  It's still fragrant, still green, still very much healthy and going strong.  Which is unusual for us.

So it's staying up, for a little longer anyway.  While she feels all the feels and until the empty hole that family left heals a little bit.  Like a bandaid for her soul.  To take down the tree right now would be to rip off that bad boy off mercilessly.  It's not the tree itself, it's the feeling it evokes.  The feeling all of the sparkle evokes.

It'll be dead within a week, which should be perfect timing.  That'll give me time to do some other dismantling, although as I write this, I've been looking around in a quest for what can stay.  It IS winter after all.

Why not enjoy it, ALL of it, just a wee bit longer?


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