Sunday, November 26, 2006
Today was the day I was going to pull down my fall leaf garlands and tug off the peel ‘n’ stick leaf clings from the window. I’d pull off the leafy table cloth and put away my fall vase of plant clippings. In short, I’d put away fall and pull out winter. Hanging Christmas lights in a down pour wasn’t my idea of fun, to be sure, so I thought I’d start with the inside of the house. I’ve been making beaded decorations for around the house like mad since before Halloween and this time of year means so much to me, rich in memories and if I can’t have friends and family with me, at least I can have the little momentos of holidays past surrounding me.
Early in the afternoon I asked Jenica to tell TDO to grab the box of winter stuff from the shed. When she never came back full of glee and expectations at getting the decorating done, I should have been cued in that something was wrong. I just figured she didn’t accurately convey what she wanted or else TDO was caught up in something else and it slipped his mind. So, I approached him in my usual cheery way that settles over me when I have a project in mind that I want to do and he was quite taken back, or, well, so I thought when I (incorrectly) read his body language. Now I’m thinking that instead of surprise, maybe it was more of a guilty reaction. Insert dark foreboding clouds.
“So, did you get that box out for me? There may actually be two, but I know that the one in the Rubbermaid container is clearly marked.”
“What box?” he asked, casually turning back to his computer.
“The Christmas stuff?”
Long, long pause.
“Well,” I started, the edge of my cheery turning sharp as broken glass, “Could you do that now, please?”
Another long pause.
Again, I should have been cued in, but I just thought he was busy with something he was doing on the computer and not to be distracted. He’s a bit of an asshat when he’s in that sort of mood and rather than just saying, “Hey I’m busy, can it wait ten minutes?” he’ll just turn Monster Jerk on me, so I shrugged and said, “Nevermind, I can get it.”
He jumped up and pushed past me, practically racing me to the door. “Look, don’t be mad,” I said in what must have been an irritable voice. “I can get it, I told you. Don’t worry about it.” He muttered some grumpy comment about how I was the one who was mad or something and the race was on.
He hit the shed before I did. He started to open a big blue tub of his shit, shit I don’t remember being in that tub before, but fine, whatever. “Erm, I’m pretty sure it was a green bin,” I said uneasily looking around and realizing… there weren’t any other bins int he shed. At all. Not even our camping stuff. “Say, you didn’t move things, did you?” Then my faulty memory started to waiver and I remembered at one point seeing the bin marked “Christmas” in the walk-in closet on one of the higher shelves. “You know, I’m so sorry,” I said, with genuine remorse. “I didn’t mean to make you come all the way out here. I just realized it may be in the walk-in closet.” Relief washed over him. Another sign of… something not right.
So. We get to the closet. There are no bins in there. None. Not one. Not a single bin. Now. Mind you. These are monster huge bins that I use for everything from old year books to Christmas lights to camping gear to photos to old journals… I mean. There should be some bins… somewhere. Right?
Earlier in the year, TDO had gone through a massive cleaning spree. I ended up seeing a torn open trash bag with a musical spinning bunny thing (yes, I know, it sounds hideous and really isn’t far off from it) that my grandmother had given me the Easter before she died. It’s the last gift she ever gave me. He’d thrown it out with complete disregard to what it had meant to me. I don’t mind people (TDO) throwing stuff out that is personal belongings or even community stuff that’s been broken, but I think it’s really, really wrong to throw away something that doesn’t belong to you—EVEN IF IT IS BROKEN OR LOOKS LIKE JUNK! Sure, it’s okay to ask, “Do you really need to keep this?” It’s even okay to stage a mini debate and/or intervention (lord knows, I’m a pack rat and need that intervention sometimes) but it’s not okay to just do it without any consent or permission. It’s just not. I was crushed. I was devastated that he could throw away something that held so much meaning for me. The rest of the stuff in the bag had been (before he mangled it and threw it in the back and off the deck so carelessly) in used but good condition. There wasn’t anything in there that couldn’t have at least been donated instead of thrown away. But none of it was mine and none of the kids wanted to reclaim it, so, well, life moved on. It never occurred to me that perhaps, just maybe, TDO had thrown out more stuff of value and importance to me.
Most especially not my Christmas decorations from the last fifteen years.
Some of those decorations were hand made by the kids. Some were from his grandmother… she gives me one every year; she’s the only one in TDO’s family who gives me anything. Some of the ornaments were from our first Christmas together. As a joint birthday present to TDO and myself (since both of our birthdays come right before Christmas) my entire family - aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc. all bought or made ornaments for us to hang on our tree. There were ornaments I bought as reminders of certain events that happened around the holidays, like the first ballet TDO and I went to see… the Nutcracker, the star I bought to remind me that there’s always light, even in the darkest night. There were gifts from friends, including a snowflake from Andrea from the year we both decorated our web pages with the same snowflake background and our trip to Tahoe. There’s a shimmery polar bear that Kimmy gave me in thanks for watching her kids while she went Christmas shopping… the first time she’d been able to do so alone with her husband in as many years as she had been married. There are so many memories in that box of ornaments. There’s so much love and while I know that love and those memories just aren’t gone because the ornaments are, I still feel absolutely destroyed over this.
The holidays are always so hard on me, anyhow. Especially this year, considering yet again I’ll be spending the holiday alone. But geeze, I had so looked forward to unwrapping each ornament and fondling each memory like a tangible thing, relishing in the happy moments of the holiday season instead of focusing on the gaping ruts left behind in the wake of the monstrous and erratic cart that is my unhealthy, or at least inpossible, hopes and wishes for this time of year.
I have nothing now. Not so much as a single strand of lights or a lonely cut-paper-with-glitter snowflake. I don’t have the tree topper I bought last year, or the skirt I finally bought on clearance the first year we moved here. I don’t have the flickering candle lamps my mom sent me when we lived in Livermore nor the evergreen garland I used to hang on my spiral stairs. We’ve each been through the house three times (or more) and found not a single glimpse of any box that could hold my precious ornaments. Part of me has given up. Another part, the part that holds hope even in the face of impossible odds, keeps thinking it’s probably somewhere so obvious, we’ve just managed to repeatedly overlook it.
Krush at 11/27/06 07:53 AM
Big hugs sweetie! I couldn’t even imagine that. I hope, like DayBreen, that they show up somewhere they really don’t belong. Fingers crossed for at least the most sentimental of ornaments.
Desiree at 11/27/06 08:03 AM
oh my Liberty! This would certainly be a very disappointing find… I just put up my tree and know just how much you can collect over the years… the ornaments the kids make, or ones bought to commemorate certain events in life. I feel for you girl. :-(
Mamaerica at 11/27/06 08:54 AM
I’m devastated right along with you, sweetie! My Christmas boxes are so full of memories….I can’t even imagine losing them. (((hugs)))
So Lost at 11/27/06 11:08 AM
I am in tears. How on earth does this happen? I am so sorry for you! Hugs!
Andrea at 11/27/06 05:48 PM
I’m just… so very sorry. I’m in tears for you and hurting along with you. I’m just so sorry that this has happened. :(
Pooka at 11/28/06 01:46 PM
I think we should gang up and everyone get a special replacement ornament this year for Lib. Really special. If she doesn’t find her old ones, she should get a really wonderful start-over-set.
Jeanne at 11/28/06 02:05 PM
I know how this feels! Hugs!!!!
dmmgmfm at 11/28/06 05:09 PM
My ex-roomate threw away all of my Christmas decorations 4 years ago while I was in the process of moving out of the apartment we shared. All of the things my mom and son had given me over the years, things from my childhood, all gone. I agree with the suggestion to start a replacement set for her, it will be part of the healing process. Count me in!
Tamara at 11/28/06 08:18 PM
Hugs Liberty, all I can say is that I am so sorry this happened!
Angie at 11/30/06 03:39 PM
I’m so sorry Liberty. *hugs*