75: Happily Pathetic

It’s inescapable, and I love it.
If you trim a tree, your mind is going to soak in a sensational deluge of memories. And the best memory-sparking ornaments can stop you in your tracks, and keep you there, for a good, long time.

     The first time M sat on Santa’s lap, he was 4 months old; he sat calmly with an angelic stare. A year later, the same angelic, peaceful, happy face sat looking at the camera again. (These moments are captured in ornaments on our tree, and each year we laugh at how happy M is in his pictures, while sweet, baby K is usually crying.) 
     Like it was yesterday, I can still picture pushing him in his stroller through the downtown mall as we headed to see Santa for the first time. He was in a fluffy, fleece red and black cozy outfit. It was so hot while we were waiting in line; I had to unzip his outfit to keep him cool. Babies and young kids seemed to be crying all around us, but not M. (It’s embarrassing to admit now, but I seem to remember feeling like quite a skilled mother with a perfect child. He was such an easy baby.)
     And then there are the ornaments and decorations that M loved to hold, wear, or carry around with him.  Most December days, he’d leave the house wearing his “M” Santa hat, holding his favorite Christmas book – and he’d sleep with his Grinch toy. This predictable routine carried on for years, and I loved it.

     It took most of the day, but finally the lights are on the tree, and it is filled with all the kids’ ornaments. His Santa hat is on the desk in the living room, the Christmas books are under the tree in a basket, and his Grinch is waiting for him on the stairs leading up to his room.

I know this all probably sounds pathetic, but it helps.

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