Monday, December 20, 2010

Single Parent Christmas

A quick shoutout to the single parents trying to pull together Christmas this year. Whether your tree looks like this:

or like this:

I've always found Christmas a bit hard to manage. There are expectations swirling in the air. I started to list them for you, but then I hit the backspace. If you know what I mean, you don't need the list. If you don't get it, you don't want to hear it.

I think the hardest thing about Christmas the last few years has been the break in our family rituals. We used to always get our Christmas tree on the 10th of December (give or take a day). Very important was a straight tree. There were different things we each did that had become ritualized for us, and they signaled the beginning of the Christmas season.

I am known in my family as not liking Christmas much. Which is why I find it ironic to now be the keeper of the Christmas rituals. We get a tree all right, but usually within days of Christmas. Frankly, I didn't even realize Christmas is this week until yesterday. And we go to the same single lot to find a tree: the guy who runs an A&W a Stewart's root beer stand in the summer imports trees at Christmas. And we never get a straight tree--never. I gave up that first year when I realized that by December 23rd, all the straight trees are gone. And anyway, I can't tell if it's straight or not until I stick it in the stand.

Last year, when we got our tree so late, I brought it home, only to realize that the Christmas tree stand had a hole in it. I realized this after all the water leaked out onto the carpet. I ran about town trying to find a new stand, but every store was sold out, so I used a variety of household items to make do (after trying to caulk the hole w/bathtub sealant). This year we got a stand, but the tree leans badly. I have tied it with ribbon to the curtain rod.

I have, for nearly 20 years, been in charge of putting the lights on the tree. Once upon a time I wrapped them painstakingly around each branch. At this point in my life I sort of throw them on the tree. Oldest refuses to assist with the ornaments. The Little Guy is very enthusiastic for a while; every ornament goes on the same three branches (which doesn't help much with the leaning problem). Tonight the cats will jump on the tree and shake everything lose, and in the morning I'll put the fallen ornaments back on more securely.

I like tinsel, but the cats eat it, and it comes out in interesting ways.

So I'm hitting the liquor store in a bit to grab a bottle of wine. And I'll raise my glass to you a bit later, as I think about what's important this year and what's not. The year I was pregnant with Oldest, I did nothing for Christmas except vomit. And that was alright too.

Love to you all.

1 comment:

  1. Right now my schedule is so tight that I am only home for two days most years at Christmas. The tree has already been decorated by my sister, her BF, and my brother. It broke my heart the first year the BF was a part of it, b/c it underscored how much *I* wasn't there. Now, I just have to accept that the tree will be decorated when I show up. And a beautiful tree it is.

    Funny about tinsel...