good day, the multi-layered experience of a Christmas tree, my tribe

Today was an incredibly beautiful day, with bright clear light and blue skies. We went over to new friends’ house for brunch. Their daughter is in Hazel’s class, and they are friends. Together, they like to make a point of excluding A’s little brother, and we were hoping that the twins would be playmates for him, but he and they were all focused on joining the big kids. At one point I went upstairs to check on them because I heard P, the little brother, crying. He was lying on the floor in tears outside the closed door of A’s room. I went in and told them sternly that they are not allowed to exclude him. I didn’t handle it particularly well, issuing orders in the moment. I’ll wait for a quieter time to talk with Hazel about it. It triggers me some, having felt what I would describe as middle-child exclusion as a kid (though I am sure most people can relate, having experienced it in one way or another). It hurts my heart to see it. So there will be more conversations on the topic.

Nonetheless, it was a fun morning of yummy food, interesting conversation, kids drawing, playing, dressing up, and caroming around.

Yesterday we finished decorating the tree. It is still mostly intact, despite a certain amount of batting and pawing on the part of the feline inhabitants, and tugging and loving appreciation on the part of the small fry. It smells wonderful upon entrance to the house, and is something I love about this season, along with all the beautiful lights on people’s houses, bushes, trees.

Not having grown up in a Christian household, Christmas is on one level, for me, purely a celebration of lights and smells and yummy dinner. On another level, as a non-Christian, it is something that dominates the scene in a way that sometimes feels fairly exclusionary, though that is something I feel much more frequently many more times a year than just on December 25th, in ways small and large. There are so many people who want to loudly insist that “this is a Christian nation”. Well, no. It’s not. And if it is, does that mean I’m not really a full citizen? Those sorts of things get attached to trees and lights, too. Then you add in the frenzy of marketing and acquisition all wrapped up in nationalism, and sometimes the whole thing makes me a bit nauseous.

I lived in the UK twice when I was a kid, and there it really does just seem to be a national holiday, which can be religious for people if they want it to be, but doesn’t have to be. I enjoyed that.

For now, in our house, we’ll do the tree, give some presents, but continue to think about how to moderate the consumerist aspect of it, and how to present the religious aspect as well, as the kids get older.

Tonight we had another wonderful meditation/breath class. There was more singing and dancing. I have found one of my most important tribes. I am grateful.

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