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The stockings are hung, but do you have your small blue notebook? 

December 17, 2015

  How’s your holiday decorating going? If you’re Jewish, I’d guess you’re all set, since Hanukkah is well underway. Who am I kidding? You’re probably all finished. It’s December, after all. 

I’m behind. Haven’t started. I went through this last year, too. It was different, though. I couldn’t catch the spirit. This year, I simply haven’t had time. Between shuttling my people around and several back and forth Atlanta trips, any extra hours have evaporated.

 Do y’all want to know slack I’ve been? The Halloween decorations are still in the box in the hall, waiting to go to the attic. Even worse, our pumpkins still sat on the front porch, until I pulled them inside yesterday. They weren’t carved, so there wasn’t any mold. Yet. You’re asking why I brought them inside, aren’t you? I could’ve taken them to the garbage can. Opening the front door, grabbing the pumpkins, and yanking them inside was the quickest solution. Hopefully none of the neighbors saw me. I’ll take them to the trash when it gets dark.

 I’m not usually bothered by such things, because it will get done at some point, and it doesn’t have to look like one of the Fat Man’s style trees I so loved decorating. However, when I caught The Girl cutting paper decorations out of white copy paper, I got a case of the guilts.

 Coupled with that was the fact that there are now paper chains, ornaments, and signs all over the house. She can’t wait to hear what Santa thinks. I guess that means they’re staying. I guess that also means I won’t need all the boxes of décor out of the attic. Less work for me. Thanks, Girl.

 The guilts don’t give me any extra time, though, so we still don’t have a tree. I woke up this morning feeling bad about it. “At least our elf has moved (most nights),” I told myself. At least he’s got it together.

 Everything else is great, so I shouldn’t be complaining. We are all eating three meals per day, we’re busy doing things we love, and we have a roof over our heads. The clothes are mostly washed, though I can’t promise you The Girl is wearing clean socks. It’s not because they haven’t been laundered. She doesn’t mind wearing dirty socks. Her feet stink something awful. I pick my battles. Thank goodness for shoes.

 As I sat this morning, making my list of Christmas chores that must be done before guests come to town, I envisioned rushing everyone around the house in our limited spare time, probably raising my voice a little. Everything has to be beautiful! It’s Christmas! Tie the ribbons! Don’t burn the cookies! Water the tree and vacuum up those needles! Company’s coming!

 I took a break from my list and stumbled on another. Y’all know I love a list. Baby doll, bottle for the doll, paci for the doll, small blue notebook, a blanket, spray spray, doll car seat, Jedi bag, iPad, and a pencil. It sounds like suggestions for Santa, but don’t be fooled. These items already belong to a child. With an iPad and all of those accessories for her doll, she’s not wanting for much. Don’t be fooled.

Frances, our friend, and the owner of the list and an ultra rare disease, has had more surgeries than Christmases. That’s her hospital packing list. Gut punch. Who cares about the dadgum tree? Sure, we’ll get one. We’ll hang candy canes on it and put a wreath on the door. For Frances, we’re getting a new decoration. A small blue notebook will sit on our coffee table this year. A sweet, gentle reminder to get a grip. Peace to you and yours, y’all.

*originally published in the Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA, on 12/10/15


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