This weekend is one of my favorite times of the year. Thursday was Thanksgiving and I had a wonderful day with my family. We laughed, played games, talked and just enjoyed being together. Yesterday was the day that we put up our family tree.
Now first, I have to confess that I am a black Friday shopper. NO, I am not one of those people who stand in line for hours on end. Instead, I go in for a few toys, clothes, and then walk around and enjoy the music and fun that I have with my husband and daughter and the friends that I run into while shopping.
The fun continues when we make it back home. For at least 15 years, we have the tradition that the day after Thanksgiving is the day that we decorate our house for Christmas.
The family tree is first. This tree really represents my family. I have ornaments that date back to our first holiday together. My mom has added to my collection over the years as she brought the kids their first Christmas ornaments with the year of their birth imprinted on them and a few others that represent a few special occasions. I shop the days and weeks after holidays to find Hallmark ornaments at prices that won’t break my bank, but all celebrate my family or are just too cute to pass up.
We have soccer players, dancers, a bee reading a book, Harry Potter characters, Spiderman, Cat in the Hat...well I’m sure you get the idea.
Our tree also includes homemade ornaments made of plastic, paper, upside down flower pots, glitter, applesauce and cinnamon,...again, I’m sure you get the idea.
All of the holes around the tree are filled with traditional bulbs, lights and all the extra decorations my children end up making through the holidays, such as snowflakes and reindeer.
There are white lights and multi-colored lights twinkling on the tree and chasing each other up the limbs. The angel sits atop keeping watch over my family.
Once this tree is done, my kids also have their own little trees that they get to decorate and keep in their bedrooms as well as door covers and hallway decorations that add touches throughout the house.
2 years ago, I decided to add a survivor tree to my holiday decorating. When I saw the pink tree in the store, I knew that I wanted to create something in memory of all of the beautiful and strong people who are battling or have battled cancer; those living and for those who have left us. I was devastated with the amount of people that I knew who lost their battles that year but I was also moved and motivated by them all.
Today, as I’m sitting here typing this, my family tree and my survivor tree are flashing and twinkling. I can’t help but cry as I think of another sister that has just lost her battle. Kiki was a loving woman who reached out with friendship. She was 28 with 2 beautiful very young children, a loving husband, and family by her side. My tears are a mix of sadness and something else that I can’t name. I just feel touched having known her. To Kiki, every moment should be enjoyed and celebrated and dreams were to be lived not just thought of.
No my tears aren’t of happiness of her passing, but more for feeling blessed for having known her. I feel blessed knowing all of them.
So I’ll sit here in the darkness with all of my Christmas lights on and flashing. I’ll sit here and enjoy my evening relaxing beside my husband while my crazy crew plays through the house. I’ll dream about all of the things that I still want to accomplish and then work on succeeding. I’ll remember that it’s not about how much time that I have left in my life, it’s what I do with the life that I have. I’ll enjoy the moments and overcome the obstacles, keep on smiling even through sadness, love a little stronger and never let my family and friends forget it and appreciate all that I am blessed with, whether I see its worth yet or not.