I’ve got to say, I am not really looking forward to the first Christmas after the divorce. I’d like to skip it actually. Luckily, there is this little boy who would have absolutely none of that, so I’ve just got to step up and deal.
Last Saturday night, we arranged to meet friends at the Christmas tree lighting and caroling at the Capitol. They were late, so they missed the songs and the tree flashing on with its white lights and white styrofoam stars (weird and underwhelming). But Cavanaugh and I got there in time to sing along. I asked, “Isn’t it cool that you can hear the singing everywhere.”
“Actually, I am totally freaked out.”
“Where is it coming from anyway?”
After I’d showed him the microphones and singers on the Capitol steps, he was ready to leave the crowd. I started to feel sad remembering that my ex-husband and I brought Cavanaugh to this event Cavanaugh’s first Christmas. Then I looked at my kid, rolling in the grass with his Lego flashlight guy, Albert Einstein Christmas Tree (named with his dad so don’t ask me why), while I sang carols and tried to get pictures of Cavanaugh in his Peanuts shirt. I was remembering the photo of Mike, Cavanaugh and I together in 2006, feeling sad that part of what has been lost with this divorce is that there are so few photos of Cavanaugh and I together now. Then a man sitting on a nearby bench offered to take a picture of me and my son. I continue to be surprised at how often I am smiling.
Sunday, I pulled out all the decorations and nearly burst into tears. What are we going to do about stockings. Do I fill my own? Do I hang up only Cavanaugh’s? Do I ask my friends to give me stocking size presents for my birthday (on December 22nd) and just not open them until Christmas morning?
Then there was the Yoda snowglobe. I swear to all that’s holy, if I didn’t have this small child, I would just take to my bed. But here’s my kid pulling tangled lights and stockings and opening Christmas cookie tins full of ornaments out of boxes. So I couldn’t go to bed. I also realized quickly that I couldn’t decorate either of the ficus trees. The big one’s branches froze off last January. The little one’s branches are so thin they won’t hold up anything.
I am trying to watch spending and had convinced myself that it was silly to go buy a tree and tree stand when I could just make do with ficuses. But I couldn’t handle it. The ghost of married Christmas was whispering in my ear and I had to flee the premises. Cavanaugh and I bought a 7 foot noble pine tree and a tree stand and it fit perfectly into my CRV. By then it was time for him to visit with his dad, so I put off decorating until today.
While they were out, I figured out how to trim the extra branches from the bottom of the tree. I got the thing to stand up in the tree stand. It was one of those I can do it alone moments. At least getting the tree to stand up kind of straight. Though I’m very clear there would be absolutely no tree if Cavanaugh weren’t here. I would be flying to friends or family, fleeing my house and its memories, giving up on having any of my own traditions.