Saturday, January 07, 2006

My life through my mother's eyes, as told by ornaments

A series of unfortunate events kept me from taking down my Christmas tree until last evening after dinner. The tree was so thoroughly dead, I'm surprised the spicy curry on my breath didn't ignite the crispy branches and send the whole thing up in a blaze of glory.

Sadly, this year's tree untrimming required a moment of silence, inspired by some empty boxes whose ornaments perished during the holiday season. I had to say goodbye to a shattered glass ballerina (circa 1992) and a decapitated snowman (2005). Oddly enough, the cheap styrofoam and cardboard angel from 1979 is still going strong. Natural selection at its finest.

(Side story about the angel - she was originally part of a set of three: pink for me, white for my mom, and blue for whomever my mom - or me, in the later years - was dating at the time. During the 20 years she was in service, Blue Angel turned A LOT of tricks. Mom and I used to make a game every year of naming as many honorary Blue Angel hangers as we could think of. And why not? Who doesn't want to feel like a whore at the holidays?)

As I boxed everything up, it seemed my life was flashing before my eyes. My life according to my mother, that is. She gets me an ornament every Christmas to signify something important that happened that year. Her take on the important things in my life and how she chooses to depict them can be quite humorous. Here are some of my faves:

Year: 1994. Of Significance: Started College. Ornament: A UW keychain.

Year: 1997. Of Significance: I have NO freakin' idea. Ornament: Indian Chief.

Year: 1999. Of Significance: Bought first house. Ornament: House.
(Note: I also got married in '99, which I thought was more important at the time. Guess Mom knew better...)

Year: 2001. Of Significance: 9/11. Ornament: American flag.
(Note: Riley was born in '01. But at least I have a damn flag to hang on my tree.)

Year: 2005. Of Significance: Big promotion. Ornament: Clock
(because new job is taking all my time.)

These pale in comparison to the piece de resistance from 2003.
Of Significance: Told husband to pack it and move it. Ornament: The Cowardly Lion.

She didn't mean that one the way it sounds (remember, in the end the Cowardly Lion is actually quite brave and does things he's afraid to do because he knows they're the right things to do). But there was a very loud Christmas quarrel before she was able to explain that one away.

Thanks for the memories, Ma.

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