On 20th December 2016, I put up our Christmas tree.
This isn’t the latest it has ever been in the Whyte House but it has been a while since we left it this late.
We’ve been pretty busy this year what with trying to stop the world spinning off it’s axis during and after the appointment of a thin skinned, misunderstood because his mother surely loves him, candidate for the position of leader of the free world.
Plus we in the UK opted out of being politically aligned to Europe during the #Brexit referendum. Sure, we share a tectonic plate but that shouldn’t stop us, eh.
Add to that our own joys and tribulations, we recently were under the weather for a few weeks, Missy having a difficult time with a teacher took up 4 months of our summer, Mr Pollyanna wanting us to shove off rather than share all the resources we accumulated during the marriage, friends health concerns, getting stuck on the motorway on the 3 hour drive to York – the parent city of New York, as in “like York, but new”, not one but two cars packing up on me, negotiating a temporary peace treaty with the outlaws to gain access to Missy’s lovely Grandmother during a state visit from Jamaica this past summer were all difficult things through which we waded.
On the plus side we’ve seen a thawing of tensions between my own mother and me, outliving and surviving another reorganisation of personnel at work, spending weekends at the beach with my girl friends, going back to the LDS Temple for the first time in 19 years, becoming a Primary Sunday School Teacher for 8-10 year olds, enjoying York when we finally arrived there… (it’s a beautiful city, you should try it), I grew chili plants, Jalapeño’s I think, from seeds of a left over chili from last year, attending my first ever Gay Pride #nofilter #loveislove this last summer on my birthday weekend, taking carloads of girls to dances all over the Midlands and South East so that they’re in the right place at the right time to have a laugh and relax without pressure to conform to worldly expectations of what Teens should be up to, I’ve spent time with family, picked the old folks brains about our family history which included lots of anecdotes about how if you turned left the road headed to town but turn right and you could go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean… and finding a trove of birth certificates.
With everything going on, I’m surprised the tree was decorated at all. Be grateful for small mercies. EVEN IF the daughter won’t let me put tinsel on the tree because it is “gauche” and “ughhh”, at least we have a corner of festivity in our home. Don’t tell her but I’m going to sneak some tinsel in just for my own amusement.
It is hopefully our last Christmas in this house.
The house has been kind to us even if it is creaking and leaking. It is larger than the previous little home we moved to which was a “Mews Cottage”, an Estate Agents word for “how are we going to actually fit people in here”. This house has ample parking spaces. It doesn’t have neighbours who stand outside our window staring in even when we try to tell them not to. It is in a good neighbourhood. It has housed many a sleepover for Missy’s friends and my family. It has been a place to retreat when the world got too much. It was a place I made an emotional nest for my girl when was sorrowful this time last year. It has been a place we fed friends. It was what we needed, when we needed it.
I’m glad that we were advised we could move home, but part of me has made this a home we can take with us in our positive memories. The tree will come with us, along with the chili plants we cultivated successfully, and next year it will take pride of place in the living room. Together we will sit by the glow of the tree lights and talk about the day, just as we have all the other years. Life may get very dark for a while and it may take all of your gumption to stay assertively optimistic but it gets better if you hang on in there and keep trying.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.