I bet you thought this was going to be a Top 10 Tuesday list? Well, you thought wrong. Who knows…I may put one together before the night is out. But for now, my mind is on other, more important things. Tradition.
The first two years we were married, G and I lived across the country on a military base, far from any family or friends. On holidays, I would cook enough to feed a dozen people and we would invite other Airmen who didn’t have “home” to go to. Thus, the Island of Misfit Toys found its humble beginnings.
(I crocheted this Mod blanket for my nephew last year. Yes, I crochet, too)
When we moved back to SC, we were torn between Grandmothers. Whose house do you go to for holiday meals? The one that lives local or the one that lives 4hrs away? And if we keep going to visit family, will my child ever know that I can, in fact, cook a turkey? It took a number of years to work things out. Depending on G’s work schedule, if he had off Thanksgiving weekend, we went to my mom’s. If not, then his mom’s. We opted out of extended family get-togethers on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning (unless it’s his mom’s turn to cook breakfast, then we’re there!) We decided that even though we both grew up in bustling households, it was important for us to establish our own traditions for our daughter. Some times they include the rest of the family, other times, not so much. In the last few years, our Bubble has grown to include my niece, who is living in our dining room that we converted to a bedroom for her. The four of us are like our own little A-Team.
Because of the traveling that we did early on, G & I began putting up our tree on Thanksgiving morning after the Macy’s parade ended. It killed time until we had to go to his mom’s for dinner. This little tradition stuck. Our daughter and I have even established a series of favorite movies to watch while putting up the ornaments. (We actually have a special DVD list for Halloween, as well as the Christmas season…it’s a pretty bad ass list). Everyone thought we were nuts. Then something happened a few years ago that confirmed popular consensus. G let me put up the tree on my birthday. Mind you…my birthday is November 4th. We barely have the jack-o-lanterns thrown away before breaking out the tinsel.
I may be biased, but I really love our tree. We have such an eclectic collection of ornaments. A lot of them are hand made, and some are heirlooms. Many of them represent various movies, books, cartoons, musicians, etc that we love dearly. I am like a little kid when it comes to our tree. I will lay on the floor for hours and stare up at the little lights. I have grown to enjoy the extra weeks with the tree. In high school, my friend, Alex, said that I was the “anal retentive Christmas elf”. Hey…whatever, man. I’ll take it. I am like Buddy the Elf’s cousin. Smiling’s my favorite!
Lately, as most of you know, my lung has been giving me a lot of grief. Cystic Fibrosis is fighting me tooth and nail in my quest to reach the ripe old age of 40. I missed most of the month of September thanks to a lengthy hospital stay. Halloween is mere days away and we’ve only just carved our pumpkins. And I have to go back to the surgeon on November 5–one day after my birthday–most likely for another surgery.
“When will we put up the tree?” my daughter asked.
It hit me like a freight train. The rest of the Bubble agreed that they wouldn’t want to do it without me. But, I wouldn’t ask them to wait. God forbid I end up in the hospital for a month, or worse? I would never forgive myself for denying my daughter a happy Christmas. Christmas has always been hard enough since my brother died in 1993. And last year was our first Christmas without my Dad.
Did you see that movie Family Stone? That movie tore me up! No. Absolutely not. Not in my house! Not on my watch! None of that Christmas shoes bullshit. My heart is breaking. I never want to die. And I want to have Christmas with my daughter. What’s a mother to do?
Halloween falls on Thursday, October 31. We don’t usually do anything on Thursday nights. None of us work. The kid is getting a little old for trick-or-treating. (She’s 15…and she knows she can play dress up whenever she wants…she volunteers at Charlotte Comicon!) So, while the rest of the nation is panhandling for sugar and watching spooky movies, we’ll be decorating a Christmas tree.
“You know, on Halloween, we usually watch movies like the Crow,” I said to my baby today.
“Well,” she said. “I guess this year we’ll be watching Little Women on Halloween.”
I can’t remember a time when I’ve been more proud of the well-adjusted, young woman that she has become.
So, this Halloween, eat, drink and be merry, my ghoulish friends. Enjoy your parties, costumes, candy, and scary stories. I’ll be singing carols, lighting candles, hanging ornaments and decking the halls in the happiest place on earth…the Bubble.