Tonight we went and bought a tree (I was tempted to chop one down from the land just because I could, but, oh well, am lazy) and we dug out our old Christmas boxes and decorated. It felt more than a little ridiculous, dragging a tree into an already cramped trailer, squeezing it in amongst our over-sized furniture in a tiny space, but as I brought out familiar old ornaments one by one . . . well, it made me a little teary-eyed. The large beaded blue star, and the gold star made of mesh (I always had a thing for stars), then the ornament that Jeff's mom gave us when Faith was just a little red-headed baby – a little strawberry blond angel girl that looks remarkably like Faith, and after that the personalized ornaments: Jeff and Jenny, two bears kissing, a tree that lists Jeff, Jenny and Faith, 2006. Last year – all four of us as a penguin sled-riding crew – for some reason all of these little things touched a sentimental and heartwarming spot making me feel like I was part of something much better than just myself, that I was making traditions.
Of course my babes are just too little. James was interested in immediately pulling down any ornament we had just hung, Faith only concerned with what I was placing so carefully among the limbs, wanting to dismantle what I had done only to do it over herself. I had to remind myself many times, they are just babies still, they won't remember this, the year we lived in the trailer, the Wednesday that we decorated the tree.
We went to Dahlonega tonight, the old gold-mining city of Georgia. We are all settled on top of ancient mines actually, there are some on this very property long since fallen in and forgotten. Dahlonega is a special little city though, full of character, new and familiar at the same time. The trees surrounding the old square are hung with lights, swags laid deep in the tree branches lighting up the historic buildings, catching our imaginations and lighting up our faces as if we were children ourselves.
I love that about Christmas. The fact that something so simple as white lights can seem suddenly so magical and fascinating, how decorating a tree can be something that we can look forward to all year. How I can be mesmerized by sitting in the rocking chair in the dark, staring at the lighted tree, listening to music and feeling just like I did at 26, 22, 16, 9. I want to set that same stage for my children – look around, feel how fantastic this is, family and lights and Christmas, full of wonder and love. I know it sounds a little silly, but I felt it when I was a kid. I don't want mine to be cynical and doubtful of the world. I want them to see the lights and feel the clean and cold air and have that feeling that anything is possible.