holiday tears and swears.

This frickin' thing. Makes me cuss and cry. Every single year.

Miss M and I put up our tree on Monday. I so love doing the Christmas tree. Okay, wait. No. No, I do NOT actually love "doing" the tree. Actually, I cuss a lot and sweat a lot and every year I sit on the floor with pieces of it in my hands and go, "How the hell did I do this last year?" and "Why the hell are there so many goddamn CORDS?!" I've had the same fake tree for going on 12 years now. You'd think, at year 12, I'd be putting up this MF'er easy as cake. You'd think that, at this point, I could do it blindfolded, drunk, and with one hand tied behind me. But no. Every year: a lot of sweat, cussing, and tears. A lot of tensely barked words that send a 7 year old running to the bedroom to cry a lot and yell from behind a closed door that I'm a bad mommy, and Santa Claus is NOT going to bring me any presents this year because I said the SH word five times.

But then it's up, and I'm so proud of me. For the 12th year in a row!

But then we have to decorate it.

Tiny baby fingers turned into snowmen on a blue

Wasn't sure how that would go this year. Last year when I put it up, things were pretty sad. C and I were down to not only buying our own Christmas presents but wrapping them as well. The wrapping was a farce, because not only does sweet little Miss M love to unwrap her own presents, she loves to watch other people unwrap theirs. I was decorating and wrapping for the child, not for the spirit of the season - Baby had to have her Christmas. This year, I'm less stressed out (...for the moment), and I'm in slightly more of a holiday spirit (...for the moment). So I want the apartment to look Christmas-y. I wanted to have the tree up. 
Santa don't care about your excuses, Amy. Plus,
he hears you said the SH word five times.
So loved.

I have this thing for Christmas ornaments. I love them with all of me, to the deepest parts of my heart. Except for the few filler balls and some strategically placed fake roses for glitz and glamour, every single ornament on my tree has an important memory or meaning attached to it. Some have been going on trees literally since I was born - they have been with me my whole life. As I pull out each ornament from the box, I think about the year that ornament came into my life. I think about the person who gave it to me. I think about how that year felt, the circumstances I was in or my family was in, the good things and the bad things about that Christmas. There are decades and decades of memories on my tree, and every year at this time, I remember every single memory. 

Crucifix made from Israeli wood.
Just like the Romans did it.
(ooooh. Too soon? Sorry, bad joke. Terrible timing.)
Memories are important to me. And sometimes, as I pull certain ornaments out, I smile. And other times, as certain ornaments come out, I get teary-eyed. Just depends on my mood, the ornament, and the memories attached, but I always think about the person that goes with that ornament. Like, I have a thing for Buddhas and for crucifixes; these are all over my home. One of my most precious ornaments came from my friend Carol - it's a crucifix made from wood from Israel. Another is from my brother and sister-in-law - Miss M's first Christmas - who can believe she was ever that tiny?! Another is of me, C, and M on our first Christmas together. There are ornaments that are from Christmases with just C and me, before M. There's one ornament I was given the Christmas C and I reconciled after I left for 7 months. Bittersweet memory.

So I wasn't sure what would happen this year as each one came out. I mean, I know me pretty well, so I was aware I'd cry. I just didn't realize...I didn't realize what a cry fest decorating the tree would be this year. I had to stop and just sit with ornaments in my hands and on my lap, weeping over their memories. Buckets and buckets of tears until I was practically dehydrated. Miss M running back and forth to bring me tissues, saying things like, "Mom! STOP crying! It's JUST an ornament!! Santa will bring you MORE!!"

Happier times.

But it's okay now. The tree is up, and its lights and colors make me happy and feel peaceful in the dark nights of the encroaching winter, so I'm good...until I have to go pull out the house decorations this weekend and hang out with those memories for awhile.

Oh my god, Internet. That was ridiculously hard. I am haunted by Christmas memories. 

I mean, I even still put up all the extreme fisherman ornaments C has been given
over the years. And nobody in this house fishes.

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