It is almost the end of January and today I finally began dismantling the Christmas trees. I think they have been up since December 11th. I am still dragging my feet, not wanting to say goodbye to all of my beautiful ornaments that each have such nostalgic value to me. First, I took down and carefully packed my childhood ornaments, many of which are beautiful Italian blown glass. They could be 40 to 50 years old. Some are getting weak and breaking without much encouragement. This year though, I noticed how my "new" ornaments, those that I have been buying since my children were young, are much older than I had thought. I am odd in that I mark the year of the ornament's purchase on the bottom with a marker. As I was wrapping them up for storage, I would look at the date and it would jolt me for a minute to realize that my "new" ornaments are 20 to 30 yrs. old. Each of those ornaments represents another year in the growth toward the gradual independence of my children. I feel a little melancholy right now.
As for the trees, they kept sucking water up to the very end when I hastened their demise by denying them any more over the last three days. I don't want water all over my floors as we carry them out with their stands tomorrow. While I was removing the ornaments on the more thirsty of the two Fraser Firs, I noticed that it had started to sprout baby pinecones at the very top. Now I feel really sad knowing that the trees could have made it a couple of more weeks. I could have put red and pink hearts and ribbons on them for Valentine's Day. It's too late now and I will spend the rest of this evening untangling the lights.
No season brings back memories of 29 years of motherhood as the Christmas season does. No other time during the year causes me to think so much about my childhood as the Christmas season does. It's as if time stands still for a few weeks and then I have to wake from a dream and get back to the present. The melancholy will dissipate once I have cleaned the mess and put away all of the seasonal decorations. Then I will feel renewed and ready to prepare for the coming spring. Instead of reading my Bible in the early morning under the lights of the Christmas tree, it won't be long before I am reading it outside on the patio listening to the birds in the early quiet.