the video from My Girl made me out and out cry. it was just a little hello, sent from around a firepit in the high mountains after a long day of working. and it was perfect timing. to see her face and hear her voice was pure joy.
we walked and walked and walked. miles from millenium park’s christmas tree and skating rinks, past beautiful ornate displays of lights and simple twinkling white branches. in a rare opportunity linking my arm through My Boy’s as we strolled, i was filled with joy. the loudspeaker music and dancing lights of the lincoln park zoo just echoed my delight.
as adults, the holidays carry a different set of qualities than they did as when we were children. much pressure, oftentimes grief, maybe a slippery slope feeling of never-doing-enough, some disappointment, a measure of jealousy or envy perhaps as others-with-family-all-in-town gather together in big festive celebrations. for those of us who work on christmas eve and christmas day, there is a yet another added layer.
we walked through the woods yesterday looking for the right branch laying on the ground. we don’t yet have a christmas tree up. we have other little trees – i have collected small trees through the years – but no true christmas tree. each year in these last years, we have chosen that “tree” carefully, always something we found, something re-purposed into a christmas tree, something that had meaning. there was the christmas-tree-on-a-stick – a christmas-tree-misfit – we cut down on the tree farm, a piece of the tree that fell into our backyard narrowly avoiding the house, a branch that had snapped off of our beloved tree out front, a star suspended over a straight trunk wrapped in lights to tease The Boy.
this year i thought about just going to a lot and purchasing a tree, thinking maybe, in the midst of the ending of a really tough year for many, that might put me into the holiday spirit. but i just couldn’t bring myself to do that. we figured that the answer would become obvious, as it has done in the past years. and it did. watching My Boy, clearly proud of the decorations of the neighborhoods north-of-downtown, agree with us about how simple, beautiful and truly elegant the white branches were, made up my mind.
last night we put the first coat of white spray paint on the two sets of branches we brought home. we’ll finish coating them with paint later today and wrap them in white lights. we’ll gently place silver ornaments as we play christmas music in the background. i will miss My Girl and My Boy like crazy. i will yearn for my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and sister and brother-in-law and nieces and nephew and all their families, david’s parents and extended family. it isn’t the christmas of christmas-past.
but there still is magic. those moments of joy – when everything else ceases to exist and joy eclipses it all.
JOY ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood