Isn’t it amazing what children remember? This past summer, when our Minnesotan contingency came down for a visit, the first in eighteen months, Keziah sat in the dining room, a room she designated as where she will always eat breakfast, and recounted her Christmas in the living room. The interesting thing is that Kezzie was only 18 months old the last time her family had been to our house for Christmas. Nearly half her lifetime ago. There she sat, telling about where the Christmas tree was, where her mommy sat, and how we opened presents.
Since early summer, to our pleasure, they traveled down several times. With each trip, the living room has developed a persona of its own. Kezzie began referring to the room as the Christmas Room. “Yia Yia, can I go in the Christmas Room?” was suddenly queried. It is now a favored spot for us to cuddle and read a story, or for her play the “pinano” with Uncle Jason, and Papa and Kezzie watch for the deer and squirrels out the expansive window – all in the Christmas Room.
When Tom’s eye surgery was postponed with an unknown date lingering, we thought about putting up the tree earlier than usual. When Katy’s family decided to come down for Thanksgiving, visions of sugar plums began to dance in our heads, and the idea was cemented.
Our little lass waited patiently, through the Thanksgiving feast, then Papa stringing the lights, and Friday night’s feast of the leftovers. Finally, the ornament boxes appeared. The time for “making the Christmas tree” had at long last arrived. Auntie Jenny got Kezzie started, pulling out birds and balls and angels, showing her how to attach the hooks, and reveling in the joy of a child trimming the Christmas tree. By the time Tom and I entered the Christmas Room, Kezzie was going full throttle, with birds aligned, all in a row, on the same branch, for birds do need to keep each other company, and sheep cavorting with sledding penguins. A new world order in a small Cutoff corner. She worked for two hours, never leaving the Christmas Room, independent and determined to place each and every (and I mean every) ornament in just the right spot. Owls, you see, must face the outdoors, so they will know what is going on.
We are not yet sure how our days of December will play out this year. We are , however, sure of exactly where all of our wildlife ornaments are. There is some small comfort in that. They are, of course, all on the lower branches of the tree, where they will remain, no matter what may be, building new memories and new traditions, in our Christmas Room.