Sheltered Islander: Taking Stock of SentiMENTAL Value

It’s time to de-decorate. It’s the sad time in January when we have to take down all the pretty and cheerful decorations and take the tree out. The house always looks too bare and sad afterwards. And we always try to improve on our storage systems so that it will be easier to find all the decorations next year. Some people are big babies about taking down the holiday fair, but not me. My daughter, Chenoa, helps me a little, and we get it down.

“Mom, Jimmy is coming with his truck this afternoon, we have to have this tree outside and ready to go. It’s the middle of January, the tree has to go…yeah, well Daddy’s not here, is he? So there’s no need to keep the tree up till the Super Bowl….I saw that…give me the ornament, Mom….I know, it’s the snowman I made from cotton balls in second grade…stop that—don’t cry over a cotton ball snowman!

“It was YOU who called ME to help take the decorations down, but you’re blocking all my efforts to help you! You are to! Okay, then how did the lit garland get wrapped around the shower rod? No, it doesn’t make a good nightlight. It looks like someone who has a serious problem putting away decorations….Right, and what about the front door wreath now hanging over your bed? Oh, to remind you it needs a new ribbon? And when will you be weaving in a new ribbon? Not before next Christmas I bet….

“Mom, you’re getting more sentimental, and I emphasize MENTAL ,about Christmas every year. You used to hate it when Daddy made you leave the tree up. Remember, June 6th? Remember the year he refused to take the stripped tree out of the house and you finally hired a workman to do it when he went on a fishing trip? It was so dry and brittle it broke into thousands of nettles and bits when he touched it? I remember that year—the fights over that tree are scorched into my memory. Remember when you hung a strand of green clover lights on it for St. Patrick’s Day? Daddy was furious that you were still nagging him about that tree. That’s why I never get a real tree—I just picture that dry tree with shamrocks and I know I can’t risk getting that ‘keep the tree’ psychosis. And here you are doing the same thing.

“I know, I get it. You’re old and every tree take down may be your last—don’t throw that angel at me! Here, just sit down—Sephira, go get Nana the noggie-nog from the fridgerator. Mom, stop blathering, drink your noggie-nog, I didn’t make it too strong. What? I don’t care if she takes a couple of sips right now….Sephira, sit with Nana, you can both share the noggie-nog and stay out of my hair. Say bye-bye to the Christmas tree, Sephira! Tell Nana, it’s time to say bye-bye to the tree.”

You can make de-decorating a nice family activity like I do. I teach my daughter how to pack things right and my granddaughter undoes whatever we do. But I’m glad to set a good example for them both. It’s one of the gifts of maturity.

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