Paradise is Sharing...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mixing Memories ...

Paradise is Decking the Halls....
This morning I woke up before dawn, padded over to the Christmas Tree and snapped on the lights.  I crept down the spiral stairs now adorned with garland and white lights, and made myself a cup of coffee, and retreated back up stairs to my perch in front of the tree to quietly gaze at our first tree together at MyHoney's house.  While we have been together for five years, up until now, we have kept most of our traditions separate.  We participated as boyfriend or girlfriend in each others family traditions. 

MyHoney would go with my family as we trudged through acres of Christmas trees looking for the most perfectly flawed trees that would fit in our perfectly flawed houses.  My mother wanted a tall skinny tree because of her narrow farm house doors and small parlor area.  I wanted a small short tree because of my tiny one bedroom apartment.  My sister wanted a hearty tree that would take the abuse of two kids, two dogs, and a cat.  MyHoney would hold the trees as we chopped them down and dramatically yelled "TIMBER!" as if we were cutting down the Rockerfeller Center Tree.  He would laugh and joke with my family as we hauled our green treasures back to the farm and drink hot chocolate and comment what perfect trees we had found that year.

He would help me take my tree to my apartment and help me decorate the tree.  Although, sometimes the best help was to sit back and watch because I have a system of putting the lights on a certain way.  Then each decoration has to go on in sequence of importance - the first one to go on the tree each year is Destiny's ornament, then Lexi's, then my snowmen.  The order in which I decorated my tree was just as much a tradition to me as eggnog and mistletoe.  MyHoney would listen to me tell him stories about each precious ornament - where I was when I got it, who gave it to me, what meaning it signified. Sometimes I would tear up and have to take a moment to regain myself before pulling another treasure from the box.  Meanwhile, he sat and took it all in, happy to be part of my new story, and creating a new memory.

I would attend Mass with MyHoney's family on Christmas Eve, I would help him set up the manger scene, leaving out the Wise Men and baby Jesus until their proper arrival according to the Christmas story.  I would sip Annisette and listen to stories of Christmases past in Olean and I would watch as he and his mother gently put the baby Jesus in the manger Christmas Morning

But this year, we decided because we are getting married in the Spring of 2014, we would mix our memories, and mingle our traditions.  This year, we participated in the annual Christmas Tree Hunt, but not for my tree... but for OUR tree.  We needed a tall, skinny tree to fit in the landing above the stairs.  MyHoney took the saw and cut at the base of our perfectly imperfect tree, and I yelled "TIMBER!" as if we were lumberjacks.  Proudly, we carried our tree to the car, and went back to the farm, drank cocoa and chatted about what great trees we found this year.

 We set the tree up and unpacked the decorations from my apartment, ones I have collected for the past 20 years.... and he and his mother unpacked multiple boxes from his childhood, his mothers childhood, and years going back to the Christmases in Olean.  For the first time ever, I decorated a tree with ornaments that held no memories for me, and I didn't care what order they went on the tree.   After this Christmas, they will hold the dear memory of being on our first Christmas tree, the one we decorated together, as a family, in our new tradition.  

When two people come together, they bring to the relationship so much more than themselves.  They bring their heritage, their traditions, their quirky families, their loopy rituals, and their stories.  As I sip my coffee, admiring the twinkling lights, the shimmering decorations and the quietness of the morning, I realize perhaps only on a Christmas tree you will see two peoples lives, two peoples childhoods, their keepsakes and treasures so beautifully mixed together. 

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now... Paradise is Mixing Memories ....

What traditions have you mixed???

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