Uncharted waters

We did it. Jim and I made it through our first time decorating the Christmas tree as empty-nesters. Meaning, we did it alone. Just the two of us.

After 28 years of tree-trimming being a loud, festive, family event, this year there were no little ones hanging eight ornaments in a space meant for three. No kiddos closing their eyes and holding out their hands awaiting presentation of the annual new ornament from Mom. No more jokes about the carrot, the pickle, the Russian Santa. No more surly teens swearing under their breath at one another as I ask if they could please just get along so we can get the tree done without someone crying. And no more girls home from college for the holiday and savoring the family time they'd missed while away.

This year, the ornaments are evenly spaced, there was no surliness, and there was no swearing. There were, though, a few tears. From me.

This is a huge milestone and not one I hoped to reach so soon. In fact, I hoped to never reach it at all. I hoped that even once my girls were grown and gone, there would be tree-trimming parties. That I'd have my daughters, their partners, my grandchildren running all about as Christmas music played and they clamored for this ornament or that. All the while we'd be sharing memories of holidays and tree-trimmings past.

But it wasn't to be. Not even close.

Maybe next year things will be different.

Or maybe next year will be the same. But at least having been through it this year, it won't feel so darn empty and strange.

Holiday question of the day:

What is your favorite ornament on your Christmas tree?