One of the things I most look forward to during the holidays is decorating the Christmas tree. While growing up it was a tradition in our home to pull out all the holiday decorations the Friday after Thanksgiving. My dad would unravel all the lights, my mom was responsible for unbending all the artificial branches and putting the tree together and I hooked all the ornaments to be placed on the tree. My mom was always cooking something and my dad always had the O'Jays and the Jackson Five playing to set the mood.
I believe traditions are important and I try to carry over what I can to share with Brennan. It's hard. Family dynamics are different, crazy schedules and basketball... it's hard to find a free evening to do anything outside of our normal routine.
This year Brennan will be spending the Christmas holiday in Dallas with his dad and the rest of the Ridley family. It will be special for him. I OK'd the trip, but as soon as I agreed it started to really sink in: I will not wake up Christmas morning and see my son open his presents. That thought made me sad.
I thought about what Brennan and I could do that would be special and memorable before he left. Then it hit me: the Christmas tree. For as long as I've been an adult and able to buy a tree, I've designed my tree. As sad as this may be to some, I would not allow Brennan to put any tacky decorations on my tree. It just wasn't allowed. The tree was mine.
This year I gave it to Brennan. Richard picked the perfect tree and we allowed Brennan to go at it. He used a mix of multicolored lights and white lights. He used every color of Christmas bulb you could think of. We have Starburst candy canes on the tree as well. Brennan has taken so much time making the tree his own and he's proud of it.
The moral of this post is that sometimes, letting go will bring you something so much greater. Every time I see the tree I think of Brennan and how happy he was in decorating it. That image is more beautiful than any tree I've ever created. Also, we may have a new tradition in our house: two trees — one for Mommy and one for Brennan.
Remind me to reread this post as I'm crying my eyes out realizing it's Christmas morning and I'm without my Brennan.
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