First Christmas Tree

Feeling sorry for myself never lasts long… I can’t stand the tedium of being down!

I’m picking up my violin today (my xmas present to ME), I have new comics, the horrible night job is over, everyone responded to my open post, and best of all WE GOT A XMAS TREE!!!

We have never had a xmas tree before.

Sometimes I feel out of place with my little family. Sometimes it seems like we are just a bunch of people inhabiting the same house. Sometimes I feel guilty because having to run a home by myself cuts out a lot of things I imagine this family could really benefit from. Sometimes I imagine that one day my boys will tell me about all the things they feel they missed out on by not having an “intact” family.

We’ve been through times when we didn’t have enough to eat, didn’t have proper health-care, didn’t have a real home… but the worst times were when we didn’t have anything that kept us together. Those were the times when I wondered if I was a selfish person for keeping my children with me. Sometimes I felt deep down that I was doing more harm than good by refusing to give up. So many times I could have handed them over to my ex’s parents who are rich and adoring and would give my boys everything they need and want. They would have gone to the best schools, had the best therapists, travelled around the world and possibly been better people.

Every time I thought that, though, two things would stop me cold: what it would do to them and what it would do to me.

My mother abandoned me when I was a baby. She never will make that up to me, no matter how well we get on now (and we don’t). I could never do that to my boys. My life is my boys, regardless of what I do for me and my pleasure. The boys gave me a purpose that has kept me alive and happy all these years. Nothing else I have ever done will give me the confidence and pride I get from having these guys around. I could never be grateful enough for their gifts to me: joy, love and learning. I am humble before their triumphs and I am moved by their lessons. I cannot even imagine them not in my life.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if we will ever be able to stop struggling and just enjoy each other like “real” families do.

Well, yesterday we did just that.

We went to a place by my one of my sons school and looked around. All the trees looked the same but for size. My boys picked a likely looking suspect that was sitting inobtrusively with no price-tag. I think the guy discounted the price for us because the tree wasn’t marked but it didn’t look any smaller or more banged-up than the other trees but it was the cheapest one (hmmm). The man bagged it (nylon netting to keep it purty) and even put it on the car for me. We had bought lights, mini-balls in metallic colors, candy canes and red ribbon to decorate. The boys fell to putting everything on like old pros and I placed the ribbons, putting bows wherever the guys told me to put them.

The result is lopsided, sparse and totally enchanting to me.

Although there is some friction due to my admonition that the candy canes are NOT to be eaten, the boys are thrilled. I took way too many pictures of them and the tree, everyone grinning like idiots and waving their hands toward it like an infommercial. They ran back to the tree over and over again to touch the branches and count the candy canes. They solemnly recited all the colors of the mini-balls. They checked my bows to make sure they were “just right”. It hard for us to believe that this plain little piece of soon-to-be-dead foilage is really ours.

They each made a star, all three of which will be glued together and put on the top once the glue is dry. It is nothing special, but it is our first xmas that has a tree. This tree is the prettiest thing in our house and we made it that way. It is beautiful to us. I don’t care about the rest of this silly madness; this year is more real to me than any other xmas because this year we did something together that we never did before.

Sometimes, cliches can come true.


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