(just randomly, this is one of the pictures we used at the funeral. because it’s funny)
last year, at my parents’ house, this little tree was the sum total of our christmas decorations.
since i left home 10 years ago, the amount of time and effort put into christmas decorations has vastly declined. my older sister lives at home again (due to a protracted illness. and that’s her senior picture on the wall, fyi) so it’s not an empty nest syndrome thing.
it’s that my family has medical issues. yes, we may have more than most, but a bulk of the pressing ones take place on major holidays and weekends. (i.e., 23 stitches from an onion slicing incident gone awry, emergency surgery for someone or another, yada yada)
more than one year, i came home a few days before christmas to find that the tree hadn’t been put up (fake – we’re allergic to the real ones. duh.) not a single festive thing has been laid out.
we tried to write it off with saying the christmas season doesn’t start until christmas day, anyway, and goes through epiphany. but the fact of the matter was, my mom and sister were usually flattened with their annual christmas bronchitis, and my dad was working his little tail off day in and day out and didn’t have time.
so, when heather comes home from college/work/wherever in the country she’s living at any given point, all healthy and stuff, guess who is given the job of making it look festive?
which made me feel the resentingness and annoyance with christmas decorations. however, about 3 years ago, my mom and sister got the decorations in order before i got home. i didn’t know what to say.
then, it was back to bronchitis for them 2 years ago, so it was me again.
and then, there was last year.
i got home on december 23 around 10:30 pm (PST), and had been up since about 4:30 am (MST) on like 3 hours of sleep the night before, so was EXHAUSTED. my body does one thing consistently when it’s overtired: gives me a migraine. so when i woke up on december 24th with a blinding migraine that descended into a blinding vomiting migraine which descended into a blinding vomiting weeping in uncontrollable agony migraine, i did everything i could to make it stop. i tried non-prescription drugs (liquid advil alternated with excedrin), to prescription drugs to tried and true non-medical remedies (pounding mtn. dew like it’s going out of style) to accupressure (usually works to some extent – not this time) to sleeping, all to no avail.
finally we decided to go to urgent care before it closed at 9 pm on christmas eve. (urgent care is far less likely to have a 44 hour line on christmas eve than an emergency room) the actual story of that can be found here and here.
last year i put my sad little tree up. this year, i realize it’s already the 11th and i’m going to california on the 21st so it seems like a lot of effort. and i have grown to totally hate decorating for christmas.
so imagine my shock when my mom called me last night to tell me they put their christmas lights up yesterday. christmas lights?! we haven’t had those in probably 20432652 years!
but then she told me they had gotten the boxes out of the garage and the ladder, and their neighbor offered to hang the lights for them. they gratefully accepted their neighbor’s offer.
their jewish neighbor.