Yesterday I was de-decking our halls. The holidays went way too fast for me. I wasn't even ready for the kids to go back to school. When was the last time I said that??? I apparently drank too much bourbon-laced egg nog to be coming out with statements like that.
Anyway, taking down the Christmas decorations usually makes me kind of sad. We ended as we began, with a naked tree.
Can I just say this was a totally amazing tree? Check it out. Awesome shape. Pretty filled out, not a lot of holes. You just don't see this very often when you go hack down a tree in the wild. It was a very satisfying Christmas tree. And you can just make out my shrine to Andy Williams on the top shelf of the bookcase. The shrine now includes the letter I sent him in 2005 that he autographed to me, a picture of Andy with my Dad and also the tickets from that show, a vinyl LP (is that redundant?), an autographed program/photo book, an autographed book (you can buy the autographed stuff at the Moon River Theater gift shop), a wine bottle (yes, he has his own line of wines that have his picture on the label--we chose our wine at his restaurant based on which picture we liked best). I also have a magnet on the fridge. It's scary, I know. I'm OK with it.
But back to the tree. I don't know if you can really see the trunk here. It had about four different trunks coming out from the main one, which is what made it so full and decent-looking. According to Eamonn, that lovely tree was a bitch to cut down. Better him than me, I say.
So taking down the decorations always makes me a little sad. There's so much excitement putting the tree up and the boys help out. No one was clamoring to help me take the tree down--they were too busy playing Wii. So there I was, taking the decorations down and putting them in the ornament boxes (holy cow, we've got a lot of ornaments) and pretty much every single one has a memory. I remember where nearly all of them came from whether it was tied to the top of a gift my grandparents gave me (my Grandma used to give us a new ornament each year which explains why my cup runneth over with them), some I made "back when I was a girl," some were wedding presents or tied to the top of wedding presents (we got married at Christmastime), and so on.
And now, there are ornaments that the boys have made or that we have given them each year.
In December 2004, Declan was four years old and in his second year of a wonderful preschool (I still miss it), and Finn was getting ready to enter the long term maintenance portion of his leukemia treatment. It was a good Christmas--no steroids.
Declan had made a present at school for Eamonn and me. It was wrapped and under the tree and he was very excited for us to open it. I'm trying to remember if he even made it to Christmas before giving it to us.
It's a print of his hand, made with red paint--red has always been his favorite color (once he got past the pink phase)--on a piece of cloth that is stretched on a little wooden frame.
And attached to the frame is a poem:
Sometimes you get discouraged because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints on furniture and walls.
But every day I'm growing up and soon I'll be so tall,
That all those little hand prints will be hard to recall.
So here's a special hand print just so that you can say,
This is how my fingers looked when I placed them here today.
I stop and read it when we put the tree up and I stop and read it when we take the tree down. It still puts a big lump in my throat and a little tear in my eye. I didn't think I'd miss those years when they were so little, and let's face it, so challenging.
But I do.