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December 11, 2005

Precious Memories?

Traditions. We all have them. This time of year is chock full of 'em. They get pulled out of trunks and attics and closets, wrinkly, moth-eaten and more than a little musty. They take up room, pushing other things out of the way, generally making a nuisance of themselves while loudly demanding we PAY ATTENTION TO THEM. It's not until we accept them and just let ourselves get swept up in the familiarity of traditions can we truly enjoy them.

Unfortunately, I'm smack dab in the middle of the nuisance phase. Today is the one day I have to get the house ready for Christmas and maybe it's too much pressure to expect it to go smoothly. I'm trying to get into the spirit, be joyful, joyful, and I'm trying to drag two sullen teenagers with me. And they are kicking and screaming, literally. I just broke up the umpteenth argument [which broke out after my son (inadvertently?) kicked my daughter in the head] ... Oh yeah, it's been that kind of day.

I spent the last 3 hours wrestling Christmas lights. Yes, that is a tradition. Ever since my father moved out of our house when I was 8, I've been the 'official' light untangler. I still remember my mother throwing the ball of lights on the floor in frustration that first Christmas without him, yelling "Forget it, we're not having a tree! I can't do this!" (hmm, sounds vaguely familiar)

I clearly remember thinking that if I didn't untangle the lights, we wouldn't have Christmas. Well, I did my best to get the lights working. I couldn't get the outside lights hung on the bushes like my dad did so we didn't have those but I took over the inside decorating, patiently undoing the lights and replacing burned out bulbs. Once she saw the lights were working, she went ahead and decorated the tree ... and we had Christmas. Because of this, I'm fastidious about how I put my lights away because I know it'll just be my headache to deal with the next year.

I have no idea what happened last year but they were totally FUBAR ... a humongous blob shoved in the trunk. New strands of light cohabitating with old strands, giving birth to bastard tangles, all waiting to snatch my afternoon, and my Christmas sprit, away.

I finally got the lights untangled (and threw out all the broken, backup lights I used to keep for replacement bulbs because SOMEONE had tossed them all in together) and the tree up and decorated and now we're going to wrap presents while we watch Survivor. I only yelled in frustration 2 or 3 times but I did tell the kids that I was just frustrated about the lights and that I wasn't going to give up until I finished.

Another tradition is Christmas music. When I was a kid, I used to listen to the Firestone Christmas Albums endlessly from Thanksgiving to New Years. Music alwaysputs me in the mood. When I was married, however, Christmas music wasn't allowed in our house, secular or not. Neither were Christmas movies. It was almost impossible to begin my own Christmas traditions with my kids but I did my best.

Today I had the music going and I was hoping the kids would catch the spirit ... but my sullen teenagers had their own agendas. Oh well ... I can't even talk about how hurt I was today. I just hope I got my message through.

I want us to be a family. I want my kids to have better memories of Christmas than I do. I'm tired, though. I don't know what else to do.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on December 11, 2005 4:44 PM.

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