Tuesday, November 22, 2011
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~ Epictetus
I am not one to get all gungho when it comes to the holidays. Early in my marriage they became so stressful trying to please everyone and not pleasing anyone that it truly ruined the joy and beauty of the Christmas season for me. For years it was just something to endure and get thru every year. But as our grandsons came along and I began seeing Christmas again thru their eyes it's gradually softened my heart again. I went and did a little shopping yesterday. I picked up a 4-foot artificial tree that I'm going to place in the center of our big picture window. I'd had a small fiber optic one last year that I'm giving to our daughter for her first Christmas in her apartment...very pretty, and one she won't have to worry about causing a fire. When we purged and got rid of so much stuff last year I almost tossed out my box of Christmas decorations, thinking I'd probably have the fiber optic tree forevermore. I even stood there with the box in my hands for a few moments, in the valley of indecision, and my daughter who happened to be with me said, "Don't, Mom. Keep them." I had already gone thru the box a few years beforehand, giving the kids whatever ornaments they wanted to keep. It's funny....you hold on to things forever, thinking your kids will want everything. But when it came down to decision time, I think they both took each an ornament or two and that was it. Ornaments that had a great amount of sentimental value to them. That was what was important in their choices.
When I purged thru 28 years of stuff from living in our old house...actually, 36 years of married 'stuff'...I really cleaned house. I'd been dragging things along since I'd left my hometown at the age of almost 13. Things I thought maybe my daughter might like someday....doll furniture both my grandfathers had made for me...that ended up never being played with. Just sitting in dark corners of the basement gathering dust. You know what I did? I either donated it or threw it all away. About 5 drop boxes full. Well, one big drop box outside along the curb that I'd fill to the brim and over, only to go out in the morning to find 'pickers' had basically cleaned it out. So...I'd fill it again. Do you know, it wasn't hard. It was liberating. It was so nice to just clean house. When we packed up the big semi that moved both our household and our son's 2/3 of the way across America, whatever we had of our things were those that meant something, truly. Sentimental value. Not just....things.
So...I know what shelf in the basement that box with the ornaments is stored on. I think the day after Thanksgiving I'm going to go find it and bring it upstairs. I'm going to assemble my little Christmas tree and hang those ornaments on there. And I'm going to sit down after I plug in the lights. And I'm going to savor the moment.