This Christmas, with the help of a lost high school friend, I cleaned out the ornaments and decor from my lifestyle past. As much as she was there to help me build my tree for the year (which I never invest much thought into doing, for it is only two feet tall), she was also brought in to help me trim a massive supply of Christmas ornaments and decorations that I had not opened and used in the eight years since I packed up the last Noble Fir (my former tree of choice) and later packed up my house upon which I forced a sale when my boyfriend with whom I lived and owned that house decided he wanted to commit to his “other girlfriend.”
I actually thought that the reason he wanted us to not spend “a lot” of money on each other is because he was saving to purchase an engagement ring (well, he actually was, but that ring, six months after we ended our relationship, was given to the woman with whom he was cheating on me). I remember unwrapping a sweater from The Gap – which wasn’t at all my style; I distinctly remember seeing six, small wrapped presents, that ended up not being a single container with that engagement ring we went shopping on marathon ring-viewing missions (always his idea, too, never mine). The six, small presents were individually wrapped bottles of Bath & Body Works “Sweet Pea” fragrance lotions and shower stuff. WHOOPS! Ha-ha! Silly me…. I quickly figured out why he never came home that Christmas Eve night. I remember finding a store receipt to The Gap as I was cleaning the house in the weeks after the breakup but before the escrow, and he was quite an efficient multi-tasker… my ex boyfriend, when he was still my boyfriend, purchased gifts for both of his girlfriends on the same receipt.
Okay, so, let’s look at this revelation a bit further. Martin scored high in efficiency, however low in integrity and considerateness. He probably deserves to be rated high in balls factor — a man who purchases Christmas gifts for multiple girlfriends in a single transaction is pretty ballsy, in my mind, at least. He does score low in his attention to detail, however, because after eight years, he still didn’t know my taste – as I mentioned earlier it not only wasn’t my style, that sweater was so fugly!!!
Christmas sucked for several years after that particular year.
Amy came over, and a sleepover that was 17 years overdue, ensued. We drank wine, we caught up stories, trimmed my teeny tree, and thinned out the ornaments that belonged to trees in another life chapter of mine. No matter how long time can pass between any of us, no matter the reason that led to the end of a friendship, the hallmark of a good friendship is being able to put all of that past in the past and pick up authentic presence in the present, and accept the intentions and sincerity to be in each others’ futures. The biggest benefit of having a friend who knew me before I let myself forget myself, is she could help me unwrap each delicate globe or dangling trinket and decide what belonged to “me,” and what beautiful and glittering tokens were better suited for the tree and life of another.
And rather than me get weepy and rise my self pity, we laughed and we laughed… and we laughed. And she placed each ornament we agreed I would keep with an expertise belonging to a woman who just loves – absolutely adores – Christmas and understands the essence of Christmas Spirit. The perfect friend to help me with my Christmas wish, which was to be excited about Christmas again. And the condo floor ultimately resembled an ornament minefield, which in the light of the next morning’s sun, seemed less daunting and scary than that big, bad, box of intimidation.
Thanks to Amy, I found some of my lost Christmas excitement and enthusiasm. The weeks leading to my trek to Oz to share the height of the season with my mom were exciting and happy, and I gleefully turned on the twinkle lights to my little tree each night. All that capped off with me spending these last few days with my own force of nature and bathing in love, love, love – the kind of love that a doting mom offers is so different from any other love I’ve known.
I hope you have as lovely and light-filled a Christmas as I have.