Dancing Memories

Christmas Tree 2013

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone. ~Deborah Whipp

My Christmas tree is finally finished. I took it out to ‘rest’ just after Thanksgiving, and we began decorating it that weekend (it took one evening just to open my ornaments) but then we all got busy, and so it sat, lonely, half finished, and half forgotten, in the dining room window.

Tonight though, I coaxed our temporary housemate into helping me with the outside lights. Then, after I bribed him with homemade chili and homemade chocolate chip cookies and cocoa, we finished the tree.

He patiently let me tell the stories of the ornaments, like a litany rolling from my tongue. “This is from the mobile that hung over my crib when I was a baby. This is from my first Christmas package. My mother made this when I was six or seven…I remember her cursing about all the French knots.”

The ornaments spun on their strings, slow pirouettes slowing into stillness that could be broken with the hint of a breath. The green of the plastic tree began to take on a healthier color.

“That one is from Ocean Grove, New Jersey. We lived there when I was nine. And that one is made of shells from my mother’s beach.”

The glass pieces – birds, fish, fruit and vegetables – glittered and glistened in the soft glow of the white tree lights.

“That was the tree-topper on all the trees my mom and I had, for most of my life. That one is older than I am. That one was my mother’s gift to Fuzzy. That one was a gift from Jeremy.”

The last hook was attached to a branch. The last plastic icicle given it’s place, the center of a triangle of three lights.

“Can you feel it?” I asked him. “Now it’s a Christmas tree.”

“It’s always been a Christmas tree,” he said.

“Nope,” I answered. “It was just a fake pine tree before.”

The memories danced in my mind as the decorations shone on the tree, and I texted my husband to tell him it was done.

He sent a smilie and the three words that matter most: I love you.