Thursday, November 30, 2006

Colored Lights

For the first time in years I have bought and decorated a full sized live tree. On the way home I called my roommate and asked her to look in the box to see if there were colored lights. I have used white lights the last times I decorated the tree, because they looked so classy, so crisp
and elegant. But this year I wanted the colored lights. Those were the lights on the tree when I was a child. And there is nothing more peaceful than a pine scented room, glowing with those colored lights.

I got the tree at a tree farm next to sweet-stay-at-home-mommy's house. I was visiting there for the afternoon, and I figured a tree farm tree would be cheapest, so I might as well buy it while I had already used the gas to get out there.

I searched the lot for a tree under the 31 dollar price tag that seemed to be on every tree. I crossed my fingers that I could find one for 25 dollars. I am SOOOO broke right now and a tree is a luxury I honestly can't afford. I got tired of looking and decided to price tree stands, and then I saw a new section of smaller trees. I found the one I liked, but it didn't have a price tag on it. I asked the man who worked there, and get this, the tree was 12.99!

He told me that this type of tree didn't bail very well, so I told him I would save the 1.50 and skip that part. I went to get my car and when I returned the man was bailing the tree. He told me he would not charge me for it. I paid him a rediculously small amount of money and drove my tree home.

I got home and Jennifer and I put the tree in the stand, added some water and 7up to the bottom and cut away the netting. I tested the lights and trimmed a few parts off the tree while waiting for the branches to settle. I took the trimmed branches and put them in a vase, as a nice smelling arrangement for my neighbor. He was recently dumped by his girlfriend, and his apartment is so small I don't imagine he will get a tree, so I thought it would be sweet. Jennifer and I ordered a pizza, made some cocoa, and I began to decorate the tree.

As I started to unwrap the ornaments, a funny feeling came over me. I felt like my future daughter was there with me. As I put up the dove ornament with "Diana 1982" painted on the wing, I imagined hanging it next to an ornament with her name and some future date. I felt her feeling of safety and hominess that I once felt, especially around the holidays.

The ornaments brought back memories of Christmases past. I remembered making the stained glass ornaments, and the construction paper with glitter ornaments with my Mom. I remembered receiving the santa ornaments that gave you a Hershey's Kiss from my Stepmom's Mom. I remembered the first tree my Dad and I had together after my Stepmom left him. I was 12 and we were both drunk as we decorated it.

I picked up each ornament and remembered the Aunt who gave it to me. Most of them were from my Dad's redheaded sister, they were quirky and fun, like a beaver or a frog. Some of them were from my Mom's youngest sister, they were artistic and cool like her. She was the age I am now, she and the family reached out to me, and kept me connected to my mom somehow.

Each ornament brought back a fragmented part of my life, and as I put them on the tree, as the woman I am today, I felt myself becoming more whole. Tonight I brought the three parts of me together into the same place. My present self was aquainted with my future self, and was reaquainted with my past selves. This is the power of a tradition.

As I had many times in the past, and as I will many times in the future, I put the angel on the top of the tree, turned off the lamp, and looked at it. It looked beautiful, bathed in the warm, comforting glow of the colored lights.

1 comment:

cube said...

What a lovely post. When my daughters were little, I started a custom of buying them one special ornament each for that year. Those yearly ornaments and the ones they made for me at school are the most meaningful ornaments on our tree.