And so I find myself back on WordPress, after a scandalous affair with Facebook. Yes, dear chirping crickets….it was wild. And at first, it seemed I had made a clever decision. So many readers saying, WordPress? Why do I have to go THERE? in the most heartbreaking tone EVER. And the traffic was fabulous. Like New York at rush hour FABULOUS. And then it wasn’t. Facebook became less friendly about promoting me for free (whatever facebook), and it turns out that I’m not much into writing Diary Style. As in, just for MYSELF to read.
I’m not sure what that says about me and my craft of writing, a term which here means,
1. understands the difference between two, too, and to.
2. is a voracious reader who probably is accidentally stealing other people’s words and ideas.
3. Loves the instant happiness that can only come from someone commenting, “LOVE THIS!!”
I find that I’m actually able to write better, simply because of the italics function. I’m a big stressor. I emphasize certain words, and “airquote” often when I’m doing the other thing I love to do, which is TALK. When I write, I’m really just talking. And without that little italics function, I’m having to ALL-CAP it, which leaves me feeling misunderstood, or like I’m from the Bronx or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not accurate. I’m from the world’s smallest town in Iowa, living in a similarly small town in South Dakota. I’m so italics, it’s not even funny.
The plan was to write to you about my Christmas tree, and I got a bit sidetracked. This is real life in the world of Lisa–so many topics, so little focus. It’s possible that I have some undiagnosed attention things going on, but who has the time for that. I’m sort of counting on my readers to be more clear-headed and able to follow my thought patterns that zig and zag.
This isn’t OUR Christmas tree. But I really like this picture.
(And by the by, thank you dear readers for your focus. Treasure it, we don’t all have it.)
As I walked by our half-decorated tree, that as it was being trimmed, had my children howling in laughter at some of the old decorations, I stopped to look at some of them. Some of them were funny. My middle son had at some point made a Santa decoration in preschool that looks more like an overweight octopus with a jaunty hat and eyes that twinkle. I’m a big photo-inserter of Christmas hangings, and so the little pictures of their chubby cheeks and smiles completely void of any sort of self-conscious vanity seem hilarious to the much older and wiser children who snap dozens of cool selfies (friend approved only).
They have a somewhat different effect on me.
The older and wiser children: (15, 16,and 9)
I suppose it’s terribly cliché and overdone, but the feelings I get from all this history hanging on one huge 10 foot Christmas tree that I pulled out all the stops to get (and by all the stops, I mean to say, I threw away every stitch of my pride and begged)–can be overwhelming.
As my dear friend said just this morning,
Man are we hard on ourselves. I mean, we have children who are well fed, have a roof over their heads and warm beds, plenty of clothes and seem somewhat happy. And we did that! We are really doing just fine, aren’t we?
And isn’t she right? Somehow, despite all the doubts and dysfunction, we’ve raised these children who can go forward into the world with corny pictures of themselves, and stories of the time mom started crying because she really wanted a 10 foot Christmas tree, and family Christmases of Santa bringing anything from surprisingly large air hockey tables to plane tickets. We’ve done that.
There’s so much we worry about as parents. Maybe we should have fed the kids more vegetables and started juicing so they love kale? Should we have forced them to learn an instrument? What have we been feeding them that will someday be banned in every country-even the US? Do they do enough charitable work?
But staring at our Christmas tree full of the past, takes me down memory lane faster than a near death experience. There’s a crystal clear ballerina with a pink tutu for the time Kinsey wanted to be a dancer, a coca cola bottle because it was Gage’s favorite (still is) , a pineapple for the first time we took the kids out of the country, and all those handmade ornaments that if you hold them up to your ear, you can hear a poor harried teacher sobbing in the background because of all the glue mishaps and complete bedlam that comes from attempting to turn out somewhat decent crafts (or at least as lovely as the teacher’s in the class next door.)
Maybe once a year, it’s ok to put all your accomplishments (as parents who may not be perfect, but sure do try hard)– out there in one not-so- convenient-to -get -Into -a-tree-stand and very large Christmas tree.
But just once a year. And I think we may need a slightly bigger tree next year to fit all the new ornaments from this year. I better get busy working on my tears.