December 24, 2012
In my house, it is Christmas Eve. A Christmas Eve that slipped upon us, as many of them do. I had plans for this December, and none of them came to fruition. An unexpected week in the hospital changed everything. Luckily, my online shopping was mostly done. Luckily, our tree was up. We came home to the cozy comfort of our familiar house, messy and cluttered and cramped as it may be. But familiar. And our tree, familiar as well, burgeoning as it is with hand-blown glass ornaments from the last decade, a mix and mingle of metal robots now marching in and between the others. Two new robots took their place this year, and a few Angry Birds are finding a place to nest as well.
There are new and different patterns to our days now, but we are all settled in for the holiday. And yesterday morning, up in the dark with the howling winds and ceaseless rains outside the window, I played my Scrabble games and waited for the next to rise. When the little one was up, we cuddled and evaluated our decorations. Tree. Light-wrapped crystal garland over a set of bookcases and mantle. Every year. But maybe not enough.
And so, three boxes of lights I had picked up “in case” were put to use, orchestrated with excitement by a little boy whose life and patterns have also changed. The first string he decided to put around the Year 42 quilt I hung on the wall earlier this year. We worked haphazardly, as is often the way with one who is eight. We started on one side and went with it, keeping in mind the proximity to the plug, and the attempt to avoid needing hangers, staples, or clips. The lights mostly surround the quilt, and they are happy. The quilt, which ended up so perfect for the space, has taken on new whimsy. It looks as if it could happily grace the walls of a Mexican restaurant. Or, it looks as if it is part of the house of a playful artist. These lights… are me. And yet, they hang because of a little boy.
After we bedecked the quilt, we moved on, the desire to complete our decorations before his brother woke adding to the fun, secrecy, and excitement of the morning. Two other strands followed on opposite walls, the room now surrounded and full of light and color. These lights are new, bright, shiny. These strands do not possess the soft warmth, the glow, of the older lights in our traditional strands. These are the bright colors of LED, of time marching on.
On the couch last night, I went to sleep with all the holiday lights on. Waking at 2AM to do a glucose check and shot, it seemed as bright as day in the room. And yet there was something magical about it. I am one of those people who would happily leave lights up and on all year long. That we added these new strands yesterday was perfect. And in years to come, so it shall be.
The little one is now asleep on the couch, covered in quilts, and yet clear to me from where I sit across the room, the glow of the lights ushering in the day, the room brightening as the hours of early morning pass.
The things I had hoped for in December mostly did not happen. The string of “I did not…” is long. My intentions were good and positive and in motion. But December had its own plans. December was busy charting a new map, new schedules, and new challenges. Even so, there were things that had to happen in December. And they did. As the days of the New Year approach, I need to quell the voices in my head. And yet these lights are peaceful. These lights are magical. These lights are of today and of the spirit of the holidays in my house. These lights will mark these days, these moments, and these memories.
(Really bad phone pic. I know! Type 1 diabetes, it is clear, is what will finally make the iPhone a necessity.)