You know how there are those things that are so much a part of our lives that we forget life could even be, without them? Those things that make up our normal, our today, our reality. They are as diverse as we are. But many stand in common. My life is always a combination of the chaotic and the sparkly, the disastrous and the lovely. Broken bits, scratches, and dust mingling with the most glorious bits of wonder. In most ways, my life is a process of looking for the good, so that what I see in my “normal” is beautiful and wonderful.
Nineteen years ago, Mister Soandso and I were just starting out our married life together. Oh, we had had two years together already, but not as a married couple. As a his and hers. It was the first week of December, freshly back from our honeymoon at the cold and rainy Oregon beach, and we headed off to the equivalent of a “five and dime” in Portland. We were young and in love and very, very frugal by necessity. But we wanted Christmas. So we selected three boxes of medium glass balls, two strands of plastic pearls, and then Mister Soandso picked up a cardboard box. “We have to have a Christmas Angel,” he said. I was ambivalent. I’d grown up with a spire atop the tree until one year it broke and we got a three-dimensional glittering star. But Mister Soandso wanted an angel. Who was I to deny him?
For nineteen Christmases, our angel has been topping our trees. She lights up, both along the edge of her luminous skirt as well as the single white bulb she grasps in her porcelain hands. Every year when I take her down to put in the box I mistakenly labeled “Christmas Angle” one year, I first must escort outside all the spiders huddled in terror upon her her tinselly wings. For nineteen years she has both lit up our holiday as well as created sanctuary for those in need. She has watched over our Christmases as our family grew from two into five. And for most of those years, she watched us while surrounded by a choir of bunny angels my sister made for us and which Mister Soandso likes to encircle the top of the tree.
And yesterday, we lost her.
My sweet littlest had just scootched over a seat at the table and I had poured myself a cup of coffee. I stood across from him and we chatted about his day, and the computer math game he was playing and all the things we needed to accomplish that day. And then the largest Christmas tree we had ever purchased fell smack down upon the table. It narrowly missed Littlest, and the top of the tree, with the Christmas Angel and her dancing choir of angels smacked me upon the head.
We lost lots of ornaments, it made a big mess, and it was certainly exciting. But a friend said it best. “No one was hurt. She did her job.”
Yes she did. Instead of sitting directly in the tree’s path, Littlest was mere inches to its left. And although it collided with me, I suffer no lasting marks.
As I cleaned up the carnage, I noticed two things. First off, a bunny angel had landed on the keyboard, between Littlest’s hands. And our lovely Angel still seemed to be watching me.