Monday, December 3, 2007

Attica! Attica!

Attic – huh? Now wait just one minute. You want me to go where?

I haven’t been up to the attic since my divorce three years ago. Normally it’s not an issue, I am perfectly happy to let boxes of lord-only-knows-what stay locked away up there. But the one thing I know that is being held hostage? Christmas decorations. Each year Christmas rolls around and each year I am armed with a litany of excuses for why we can’t decorate a tree. Holiday travel…we’ll do it when we get to your grandparents’…let’s not confuse Santa. But this year Little Chick caught me off guard when she asked sweetly, “Mommy, this year can we please please please decorate a Christmas tree for our house?” So I knew what had to be done. I was headed to the attic.

Forget the nostalgia of seeing boxes from the house where we were first married, wedding albums, or Little Chick’s baby crib, I was in true physical danger. I almost killed myself up there yesterday! There’s no flooring, and no electricity so I was dangling on the foldable stairs trying to hoist heavy, poorly labeled boxes over the edge. I needed someone to catch them. I broke a few Spode mugs and some ornaments because I chucked boxes from the very top instead of negotiating them carefully down the stairs. No, it wasn’t pretty, but in the end I prevailed. I kicked that attic’s ass.

But conquering the attic was only part of the challenge. The truth is that sprucing up a spruce is desperately depressing when you’re freshly divorced. I pictured my daughter and me hanging out alone, quietly stringing up lights. But this year Christmas finally feels light. I’m ready for some new traditions. For example, my ex would never agree to a white artificial tree. A little campy I know, but I think they’re fun. Each year he had the same response: When Pigs Fly. So as a consequence of freedom, part of my amnesty package so to speak, I treated myself to a white Christmas tree. And it’s dreamy.

We had a ball decking the hall. I rearranged the furniture to place the tree in a whole new spot, everything fresh. At first it looked a little lean since all our presents are all shipped to grandparents’ house. So I gift-wrapped the empty ornament boxes and stuck them under the tree as props. (Lord knows I wasn’t taking them back to the attic.) We celebrated with holiday cupcakes and hot chocolate and exchanged a few early treats. Confused by all the activity, our sweet dog Gus was stealing ornaments so we would chase him through the house. He barked wildly, holiday tunes blared, and Little Chick and I were rockin’ around the Christmas tree. It was a laugh-riot.

So in the holiday spirit of sharing and caring, I’d like to share a little caring advice. If you have a friend who’s freshly separated or divorced, be their holiday SWAT team. Show up with the wine and Christmas music. Haul boxes from the attic, unwind lights. Add some laughter and remind them that things do get better. The day will come when their freedom will be a blessing, not a death sentence. Christmas will once again feel magical. And pigs really can fly.

I know it’s true because these little piggie angels are all over
my very first white tree.


BD @ said...

What a great story! It’s got to be an awesome feeling that you got to do it your way and you shared quality time with your daughter (and doggie). Everything is right with that picture. Wrapping the ornament boxes was an ingenious idea.

someone taking up the space in the universe that is rightfully yours said...

Hey! Funny story...really great...I'm glad to have found your blog, and glad that you've found mine.

Anonymous said...

nice post and let's not let the divorce swat team be limited by wine...a little Jack Daniels works as well....:):):)..It's not the color of the tree but the spirit behind my old uncle Alf used to say...enjoy...:)

helen said...

Dropping by to say hi. :-)

Like others, I like the way you write. :-) The tree looks good and I bet it'll be awesome with the lights on.

Send my love to Gus too! lol

Rick said...

I would say "all you have to do is ask" but truthfully I should have offered. Happy to help you put everything back up in the attic.

Anonymous said...

Yay for new beginnings.

And yay for you for being so brave in that attic.

Christine said...

rick -- thx a million! and to tell you the truth I've already slated you to help me haul it back up

and thx to everyone who has offered to help. we're going to have to have a party after the holidays to get my boxes back up there!!

thx everyone for all the great comments/msgs

Anthony said...


Your stories are great! As a young college guy, I can't exactly identify with where you're coming from, but that's makes your stories all the more interesting.
Your writing has a certain authenticity and distinctive style that's really refreshing. I think you'll go far with this thing. Good luck!


Rachel said...

Congrats on your fabulous campy white tree! Love it.
You're taking a huge step in starting new traditions! It's great for you and huge for Little Chick!
Adore your page. Texas rocks. And love the piggy angels!

H said...

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! And, I love your white tree with pink flying pigs. Your story is invaluable to women who are divorced, separated or about to be divorced. Thank you for sharing it.

Re: the attic and all that old marriage related stuff...I have this image of your old life hanging over your head (literally). In the world of feng shui, it would be so liberating for you to get rid of that stuff or at least parse it down and only keep things you absolutely can't part with and store it somewhere other than over your heads - like, in a garage or yard shed!

Thanks again,

Jodi said...

Found you through Plane Jane Mom.

Beautiful tree!

Getty72 said...

Hiya :)

What a wonderful looking tree and those pigs look fantastic. I wish you a very very very Merry Christmas and I hope 2008 brings you much good fortune, lots of good health and bucket-loads of happiness. Take care ~ Graham :)

Patricia said...

The tree is adorable!

Tot's Mom said...

White tree looks good... it gives a magical and snowy feel to it somehow.
Glad to add you onto my blogroll. You write very well!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Great story!
I enjoyed your blog. I'll be back again.. Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tree Cristine. That's a great tradition to start. Being once divorced this post sort of brought back a few "memories". I agree with the holiday SWAT team idea. That would have helped alot back then. Great site! I'll be back regularly. Keep the coffee hot!

mikster said...

Good for you! I've been divorced for a number of years and if it weren't for my kids I'd probably not get into decorating myself. The girls are pretty insistent on this.

(And not everyone can claim conquering an attic

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

My first time here - what a great blog! I adore your flying piggies too! Will be back for more!

Honeybell said...

So happy to have found you! And I LUURRVE your white tree!

RuffleButts said...

New beginnings are always good, especially when you are creating your own path! It's funny, after my parent's divorce when I was 4, my mom has never put up a Christmas tree. It never really bothered me because that became my norm. I count my blessings for my husband who forced me to put up a Christmas tree our first year together and now every year since. It really is a warm and exciting feeling to walk into a room with a beautifully decorated tree!