Just dragged the still-deliciously fragrant Christmas tree down to the curb. Every year I’m a little sad to pack away the holidays. This year, however, my usual wistfulness is amped up considerably. That lovely fir gave me great happiness this holiday season.
We survived a challenging 2012–my husband’s cancer diagnosis and multiple surgeries, both kids moving far away, demanding schedules at work, the declining health of our parents. Right before my husband’s life-saving, life-changing surgery in December, we bought the tree and circled it with lights. I wanted it there when we came home, ready for when the kids arrived for the holidays.
His hospital stay dragged on into December. I dragged too, since I insisted on sleeping in a chair in his room most nights. Once we got home, I became a 24/7 caregiver. No time for decking the halls. Shopping was left to Amazon.com at the last minute. But somehow we added an ornament or two a day to our tree. Somehow I made pumpkin pies and cookies, and for the first time in years, roasted a turkey and made dressing for Christmas dinner with my family.
Somehow I didn’t have time for my usual pre-Christmas meltdown over stupid stuff. Joy and gratitude filled my heart instead. I could hug the people I love the most and that’s all that mattered.
My daughter flew back to Chicago a week ago; the next day, New Year’s Eve, my husband went back into the hospital (he’s back home now). Tomorrow my son flies back to Minneapolis.
Cozy, warm memories of this Christmas will linger for us all. This year it wasn’t about the presents but the presence of loved ones. Oh, and a pretty little tree that presided over our happiness.