Monday, December 01, 2008

New Traditions

It's been two whole years since we've celebrated Christmas in our own home. We traveled to Kansas two years ago (now known as the Christmas of Sickness) and last year we were in transition/homeless. Between that and the fact that we actually own a house now, it's safe to say I've been really excited to decorate and see all the stuff we haven't laid eyes on for Wyatt's whole life. We got our trees out (yes, two, because from the moment we looked at this house I knew it screamed for two trees. I feel so grown up and fancy!) and Jeff hauled all the decorations out of the attic, so we started the process of unwrapping all the ornaments, reminiscing about their history and where we were in life when we acquired them. I love that annual trip down memory lane.

Apparently life before Wyatt holds no charm for the little man. He felt zero ownership in our "family ornaments" and I'm sure his lack of enthusiasm was compounded by the frustration he felt as we said, over and over again, "don't touch that, it's fragile!" or, "these aren't toys and that isn't a ball and you can't roll it on the floor and we don't throw them!" He's not interested in the little sugar mill we bought in St. Croix, the glass balls from our very first tree together in Little Rock, the miniature Alamo from our days in San Antonio, the cloisonne egg from Beijing or any of the multitude of Japanese souvenirs that have such a special place in our hearts. Can you blame him? I can't. So I suggested that maybe he and I would venture out this week to find some special ornaments just for him (translation in my mind: this will be an outing mid-week, the ornaments will be unbreakable and have no meaning to me, therefore it will not be heartwrenching when he inevitably yanks them off the tree.) That was Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon, after his nap, he woke up wanting to get is Special Ornaments right now. We hedged; he bawled. We tried to have him help us hang all the non-fragile ornaments we already own; he wanted to know when we were getting his very Special Ornaments. He refused to help decorate until he had his own ornaments and cried some (a lot) more; we relented and headed to Target. Wyatt chose a lovely container of shatterproof Christmas ornaments. They are shades of magenta, blue, green, orange, purple and red. He loves them. He carried them through the entire store, hugging them, telling strangers they were his Special Ornaments. Then he suggested we "go right back home" to start decorating. So we did. Jeff remarked as we were leaving that we might need to toughen up as parents. I suggested that if $7 made Wyatt feel like a part of our family, then it was probably worth it.

There are now 15 multicolored (though festive, I like them!) ornaments hung in a small area on the low branches of our tree. He hung every single one, asking for help every once in a while and tolerating our interference when we spread them out so five weren't on one branch tip. He admires them and proudly tells us they're his "Special Ornaments; not Mommy's, not Daddy's, not Millie's." And amazingly, he has (two days in, I know it's early) refrained from moving them around. It seems to have given him some reverence for the Christmas tree. And darn it, now I know those run-of-the-mill, mass-produced, made-in-China, shatterproof ornaments have moved into my sentimental column forever and always.


aderost said...

I love it! I think this is the very reason I'm dreading decorating the tree. It's up...just no ornaments yet. But I guess we better find three, four or five hours of time to get it done before Jack explodes! We miss you guys already!

Susan said...

I love it. That's $7 well spent, in my humble opinion. And, what he's going to remember for years to come is that you put up the tree as a family.

p.s. blogger asked me to spell "fropater" for verification this time. That makes me laugh for some reason.

The Blake Family said...

How wonderful!!

Lisa said...

Great Story!!

Cheryl said...

Ahhh..Stephanie these are precious memories in the making. What a cutie!
Aunt Cheryl