The Christmas tree and boxes of ornaments and decorations came out of the garage today, and into the house. The Carter family (at least, my small branch of it) spent the afternoon putting up the tree, stringing the lights, and putting up all the various ornaments while Christmas music by Sufjan Stevens played in the background.
But this was something of a bittersweet nostalgia holiday afternoon. Up went the tree, along with many of those ornaments made by the children when they were younger. But gone are those darling little ones, easily amused by the colored lights and glittery balls and bells hung on the branches of the indoor tree. Gone is the “big-bird” ornament – an improvised ornament hung by our daughter when she was very young – it was one of her toys, not really an ornament, but she carried it from her room and hung it on the lowest branch of the tree. Gone is the sweet little boy who clung to his mother and sucked his thumb as she removed each ornament from the storage boxes.
Now we have teenagers who endure the “forced family fun” and roll their eyes, who disappear to their rooms as soon as the tree can be satisfactorily described as decorated. "My babies are growing up,” says my wife and she’s closer to tears than she wants the kids to see.
And though I am reluctant to admit it, the sparkling of the lights that I see is caused by the welling up of tears in my own eyes.