i've come to accept the fact that i'm ridiculously sentimental. case in point, i literally got teary-eyed when my students were handing in their final projects this week. i've grown attached to them and the thought of them moving on turned me into a puddle of emotions. i don't know what's wrong with me.. these are college students, for god's sake.
so, if saying goodbye to people i've only know for three months wrecked me, i'm sure you can imagine what christmas does to me. every year, my heart leaps up when i think of taking out all the christmas decorations. putting up the tree and hanging the lights on the house usually happen the day after thanksgiving. the same goes for sending out the christmas cards... it's all i can do to wait until december 1st to put them in the mail. each one even has a tiny little stamp featuring hank and alli in santa hats. ahhh, christmas.
this year, however, i had a seriously bad attitude. as i pulled the ornaments out of their labeled rubbermaid tubs, i realized how shabby they'd become after years and years of use. the christmas tree, too, was less than lovely. we're forced to use a fake tree at casa herrera so that josie won't chew on the delicious branches of a real tree, making herself puke every. single. day. cat puke is no fun to clean up, by the way, even if its pine-scented.
alas, the branches of our fake tree were bent and misshapen from years of use. half of its lights didn't work anymore... i'm really not sure if they ever did. i finally got frustrated trying to make everything look right, doing my best to cover the crappy parts and finally losing it after i'd dropped and broken a couple of red balls and a glass candleholder. i proceeded to throw a fit that later reminded me of clark griswold on national lampoon's christmas vacation. it started with me mumbling under my breath with each broken ball, quickly escalated to "WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS?!!?", and finally ended with me screaming as i stormed down the stairs to get the broom and dustpan, complaining that it was all "A PIECE OF SHIT!!!"
mike looked on in awe and, when i came back upstairs with broom in tow, he was laughing at me, saying he wished he'd recorded the whole thing. ha ha ha. very funny.
it's great how laughter can diffuse a high stress situation. after a cool down sesh, we hung the decorations like rational human beings. as we hung the ornaments that i've collected over the years, i told mike again where all the important ones came from: my tiny little angel-baby sitting in a walnut shell that my mom passed onto me from my childhood, the ornaments that my great-grandmother hand-beaded and that make the whole tree glow, the little red bird that i bought on a trip with my mom and sister deep in the heart of texas, the ones my sweet friends have passed onto me over the years, and the ones my dad and wanda send each year to remind me that no matter how far away i am, texas is my home.
as mike and i sat with our egg nog later and looked at our handiwork, i realized that it's not the decorations and all the "stuff" that comes with christmas that makes it so special to me, what i love most are all the memories i get to hang on each little christmas tree branch... every year, dusting the ornaments off and thinking about where they came from is enough to make this sentimental schmuck bust a heart valve.
[merry, merry christmas.]