When I was finally able to spend Christmas in my own home, it was bittersweet. I still kept up the tradition of putting all the decorations out the last week in November and had a tree decorating party on the last weekend. I have since passed the tree decorating party torch to Daughter #1, and we all gather at her house to decorate the big tree there, as we spend Christmas Eve and morning at her house. I put up a little fibre optic tree here at my house as that is all I have room for now.
I had to change my decorating plans this year though, as my back would not allow me to do it all in one weekend. I had to space it out and just do a little each day. So, I started dusting stuff off, and bringing it up from boxes in the basement during the first week in November. A tad early I know, but you do what works right?
The kids were thrilled to see the re-appearance of the Christmas Carousel and the Angel Choir when they arrived on Monday morning. They weren't allowed to turn either on though, until we had our official "beginning of the season celebration" on the following Friday. I put one new decoration out each night, and they had to go on a hunt for the new addition before school the following morning. Fun for all I must say.
They had a PD day on the Friday, so we had them here for the whole day, and we celebrated the beginning of the season in grand style.
The first thing on our list was to turn the Christmas Carousal on for the first time. Very exciting. The lights flash in time to the music, the animals are beautifully painted, and make for a very imaginative ride.
|Quite the work of art really.|
|Both munchkins are enthralled with it, and I must admit, I am too.|
|They listened to the Christmas music, picked out their favorite animal to ride in their imaginations, and watched the Carousel spin around and around and around.|
|After a while it was time to turn the Carousel off, and check out the angel choir.|
|This was a gift from the kids last Christmas, and the music is very sweet. Once one angel starts singing the others all join in with beautiful harmony.|
She was at my sister's on Christmas day, and we were to see her the next day. Sadly she died very unexpectedly during the night. She had not been sick at all. But the trauma of the fire must have taken a major toll on her heart, and she had a massive heart attack with no history of heart disease at all. I spoke to her at dinner time and she sounded fine, had enjoyed a wonderful day with my sister and her family, and looked forward to seeing us the next day. I got the call at 2am that she had passed away around midnight. What a shock.
The next morning, we gathered up our Christmas gifts and funeral clothes and made the 4 hour trip to my sister's house. While trying to make funeral arrangements over the holidays, we went to mom's house to see the damage from the fire, and try to collect a few things that would be needed to make the arrangements.
I was very upset when we walked into the house and saw the mess the workmen had left when they went home for the Christmas holiday break. They had been in the house cleaning walls and painting, but they hadn't taken time to pack anything away. They just piled stuff in the middle of the room and threw a heavy tarp over it. If my mom hadn't already had a heart attack, she would have had one for sure if she saw how they had treated all of her treasures. Her angel collection was toppled over and some of the figurines were broken. I lifted up one corner of the tarp, and with tears in my eyes, picked up this one small angel to take home with me. It was still in one piece, and it was small enough to slip into my purse for the trip home.
Each Christmas I bring this one angel out, and all the memories of that Christmas flood the room while tears flood my eyes. This year mom's angel sits in the clouds with the kid's angels, and that seems like the perfect spot for her. Joy and sorrow are always present during the Christmas season now, and thankfully the kids, and sweet memories help the joy outweigh the sorrow. Tears still flow at times, but joy has the upper hand.