Monday, December 8, 2008

A new memory for the ages

When I was young, my mom had a fake white Christmas tree.

From up close, it wasn't really attractive, but from the street, all lighted up (lit up? wondering on grammar here!) it was really pretty. Some of the ornaments were gigantic, spun-silk covered globes circa 1979 my mom had made (and my sister unmade when she carefully removed every sparkly 3" needle that held other sparkly beads) (think shishkabobs, only filled with blue and yellow and glass beads that protrude from the spun-silk covered balls that are held on by bead-headed needles) (I'm really loving the parentheticals today!). Anyways, it was a pretty tree, and the tree I remember from most of my youth.

I was all about decorating when I was young. I remember one year, around December 12 or 13th when we still didn't have a tree up yet, I decorated the whole thing myself one afternoon after school. Although I have few putting-up-the-tree-while-drinking-hot-cocoa-and-laughing-cozily-cause-we're-family type memories, there aren't many, and most years it was, "Hey, that big holiday is about a week away, let's stick that tree thing up!" (Wow, I'm all about parentheses and dashes and quotation marks. Maybe I can sneak in a few bullets or something to really liven things up!)

Anyhow, this year marks 11 years since I last lived at my parents house, thus 11 years since I'd helped put up the Christmas tree at my parent's. My mom has since retired a few fake trees, included Big White, and retired the old planetary-like ornaments. And on Saturday I got to relive a littl of my youth, and make some precious new memories, by helping my mom put up her Christmas tree.

It was fun. I got up early on Saturday morning and set off by myself. At first, it was just me and my mom dragging the tree up the stairs and finding ornaments. A few minutes after we'd started getting the tree ready for ornaments however, 3 of my sweet nephews showed up with their dad to put up the lights. They pitched in to help us, and before I knew it, I was just Aunt Becky again, putting up the tree on a Saturday morning while my nephews chattered with their grandma and me. After the tree was done, my nephew Nathan helped me unbox all of my mom's Department 56 houses and figurines, which we arranged on shelves in the kitchen. All in an effort to make my mom's house feel Christmassy.

I was overcome in memories. Even though I moved out at 18, I moved back to my parents home at 21, and lived there for another 2 years. When my oldest nieces were young, many Saturdays were spent with them, playing and watching movies and having parties and even decorating. I was the Token Spinster Auntie for what seemed forever. And I now that I have kids, I don't get to spend that individual time with my nieces and nephews the way I did back in the day, nor do I often visit my parents without two blond boys in tow. So it was a little piece of Becky that came back to me that morning. There I was, decorating my mom's tree, being an aunt rather than a mom; geez, we even ate tomato macaroni soup (which I always made when the kids came over). It was fun to say hello to that Becky, to reconnect with her for an hour or two. After lunch, and once the kids left, I helped Mom clean the kitchen, scrubbed out her sink, loaded her dishwasher. We visited like we haven't for a long time.

It was precious. Sure, we hadn't drank hot cocoa or danced around the table singing Christmas carols, but it is a good Christmas memory for me to file away. A new memory of decorating my mom's house (minus the white tree and planet balls, but with the pretty pink poinsettias, the feathery fuscia fairies, and gorgeous decorated balls) has been made. I got a moment with my mom in her house, just the two of us, being mom and daughter. I got to serve her, to try to make her load a little lighter, all while brining the spirit of Christmas into her home. As it says in Alma 33:23,

"And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.


Amy Sorensen said...

Ohhhhh....this post made me sniff. I am glad it went smoothly and that my kids being there didn't bug you! Nathan told me you put up "all the nativities in the kitchen by the microwave" and I had no idea what he was talking about! I'm glad your post cleared it up.

(Let it be said in a parenthetical aside that I have NO RECOLLECTION of taking the ornaments apart. I don't remember ever remembering it, if that makes sense. Has guilt blocked it out? Or did Suzette really do it and blame it on me???!!!)

Thomas Family said...

I love this post!! Those were the days, when you were still in bed at 12 or 1 when we would show up to eat tomato maccaroni with grandma. We would wake you up, and you would come out with messy hair, big glasses, and one knee up to the dinner table and eat with us too!! WOW!!! :) we aren't so young anymore huh?? I loved those days..
I am glad you and grandma had a good time and that the boys were there to make you feel like an aunt again and not a mom!! :)
I love you!!