One Christmas, my youngest son packed his torn-down Volkswagen into our two-car garage. Its motor took up one-fourth of one parking space, and the body took up the whole other half of the garage. To fit everything into the limited space, he had to push it all up against the storage boxes that lined the front wall.
As Christmas neared, I was able to get to the Christmas tree and the Nativity set I always used but not the boxes and boxes of decorations. I complained to both the husband and the son, but neither had the time nor the inclination to move all that metal so I could get to my things.
We were going to have Christmas that year with presents around a bare tree, so two days before Christmas, I gave up on them and went in search of more decorations. Everything was half-priced but it was also picked over. I bought lights and odds and ends, just enough to cover the tree and call it a go.
Nothing was going to stop me from celebrating Christmas.
* * *
My husband and I sat in the living room watching the weather station. It was going to be a very cold Christmas. He had his phone on the arm of his sofa chair because he had made his business partner promise to call him every thirty minutes as she drove home to North Texas.
It was Christmas Eve, and instead of the two of us enjoying our empty nest, his thoughts were with someone else. When I asked him to shut off his phone and talk to me, he yelled at me, called me cruel and unfeeling, and I took it as my cue to be quiet, so I went to bed and left him to his phone calls.
The next morning the kids came over to open presents and he handed me a professionally wrapped present. It was the merino shawl I wanted. I smiled and thanked him but then he said she had helped choose it. She had wrapped it for me.
* * *
The divorce had taken six months and it came through on a Thursday, one week before Christmas. I hadn’t felt very holiday-ish but now it was time to look forward and count my blessings.
I dragged out the old Christmas tree and ALL the decorations. My ex was very picky and always dictated how I dressed the tree, so this was my declaration of freedom. I opened every box, placed every sphere on the dining table, and decided every single one was going on the tree (with the exception of anything that had belonged to him – bad juju and all that).
Once done, I celebrated by going outside and starting a huge, roaring fire of thanksgiving in the barbeque grill. I celebrated with a glass of wine and a Pop Tart and I burned a very expensive Merino shawl in offering.
Merry Christmas to me.