Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Cards, Christmas Memories

Edvard Munch watching over the studio sink. My son Alec and Edvard share the same birthday. Edvard was 145 on December 12th - Alec was 25!

I started printing my Christmas cards yesterday afternoon. I'm working on a multi-color reduction print, inspired by a stained glass window and a Leonardo DaVinci drawing. I'm never in the mood to do Christmas things until the week before the holiday (isn't this how it's supposed to be?) but now my feet are on fire. I plan to finish these today.
When I was a kid, Christmas trees and decorations went up the week before Christmas, no sooner. I even knew some families who put their tree up on Christmas Eve. In those households, it was Santa who brought the tree! (Can you imagine having to put up a tree and get stockings ready, etc, on Christmas Eve? No thanks...)
Garry and I carried on with the tradition of putting the tree up one week before Christmas until the year that I was expecting our youngest, our son Alec. I was in maniacal nesting mode at the time and insisted that we put the tree up early that December, so that everything would be all pretty and organized when I had the baby.
So we did.
The Satisfaction.
The Tree Was Up.
The House Was Neat As A Pin.
Bring on The Baby! Bring on Christmas!
Everything was under control.
Then on the morning of December 12th, our cats jumped into the Christmas tree and knocked it clean over. I heard it from the kitchen as it fell with a noisy, tinkling crash, and ran into the living room in time to see ornaments rolling helter skelter across the carpet. The cats tore after them.
Nooooo! I yelled, and got down on the floor to try and right the tree. My belly was so enormous that I couldn't kneel, so I laid down flat on my back, and with knees bent and considerable effort, I managed to slide my arm under the prickly mass of branches. Crying and swearing to myself, I groped and got my hand around the trunk, then turned and struggled to my feet. Straight away, a kick-ass contraction silenced my cursing and opened my eyes wide. As I stood hanging onto the mangled tree with my left hand, I clutched my hardened abdomen with my right and puffed out some serious choo choo breaths. The second that contraction ended I threw the tree into the corner of the room and headed directly for the phone.
Later that evening Alec was born in the middle of an ice storm. The doctor had ice in his beard when he came through the door of the birthing room, breathless, and he barely got his down parker off before Alec was crowning.
A couple of days later I came home from the hospital to find that Garry had tied the Christmas tree to the curtain rods with rope to get it to stand up straight. It looked like one of those twisted and broken trees that The Grinch had stolen and then returned to the Who's after he'd shoved it in his bag and pulled it back out again after its windy sleigh ride down the mountain side on Christmas morning. I made an impromptu mobile for Alec out of several of the escaped ornaments and 2 clothes hangers, then hung it with a long Christmas ribbon from the living room ceiling. Alec's four older siblings lay on their backs with their new baby brother, and they all looked up at the swirling ornaments together, entranced, as the shiny balls and birds twirled and twinkled by the light of the roped up tree.
So much for control.


Katie said...

I was in the same place last year getting my damn tree up! We too got our tree early, but Adam had to work soon after we got home from the tree farm. Me, being nesty, had to get that tree into some water so it wouldn't dry out. So I had to place the tree and get it all situated by myself 3 weeks away from giving birth!

Tonight, I just finished Grey's birthday cake for his birthday, well today actually! Up late getting things done.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and give my love to the family. I love your stories, I feel like I'm home.


Martha Miller said...

Hi Katie

Happy Birthday to little Greyson! What a beautiful boy. It's today, the 20th? I think that today is also Patience's birthday (and Uncle Mike's!)