It was now or never. If I didn’t get the outside Christmas lights up this weekend, I knew I wasn’t going to bother. It was warm (record high for our city), I had better things to do, and it was a mere three weeks until Christmas. I had not maximized the use of my Christmas decor. That was certain. I was definitely not in the Christmas spirit. But I went outside to sweep the windows and their surroundings in preparation (cobwebs, not icicles, here in dear old Florida), and found wasp nests, mud daubers, and, of all things, mosquitoes swarming.
It’s December. In Florida.
I thought to myself that I could be quite content just to have the windows and exterior walls cleaned. Ahhh. So nice. And no snakes or spiders to fear. I even shook the various bushes to free them from the load of tree leaves that had accumulated on their downward flight. So much neater. So freeing. And no lights to take down in January.
But then my nice child, the one with the servant’s heart, started testing the various strands of lights. As it turns out, the lights for the garage and the side of the house were the only ones not working — which means, of course, that the front of the house in its entirety still could be decorated. To declare Christmas despite the 85-degree record heat.
I still wasn’t convinced and contented myself with merely cleaning. Hanging Christmas lights has a way of making me more aware of the tasks I need to complete on the outside of my house. These windows are filthy. That was the extent of my Christmas cheer on Saturday. But my servant child, A.J., the one who lined up the working Christmas lights in a neat array to make using them easier, said he was off Sunday and would be back to help, if I needed him.
Bugger. He arrived yesterday with a load of laundry (that he would do himself). I had promised chili for dinner (despite the record heat) and corn casserole, and he promised to stay, plopping on the couch to watch Red Zone football with my husband and other son. I was willing to ignore the strings of neatly ordered lights on the back porch. I was willing to forego decorating for Christmas altogether. But he was here, and he was willing, and I was irritable and needing some sort of activity besides school work (and wasn’t in the mood for Zumba), and so I declared I was going to put up the lights.
We made quick work of it. It made me wonder why I was so reluctant to hang the lights — until I noticed one window’s lights were only partially lit. And the nails lining another set of windows were less than effective so that the string of lights kept detaching just as I reached the next nail. Actually, that was more often the case than not.
“I hate hanging Christmas lights!” I declared.
It was as frustrating as ever — and I was sweaty to boot. Actually, I was wearing boots — the ones I had purchased for my summer of yard work — and that gave me the confidence to walk among the ferns and remove the branches and pluck the weeds that were invading it after the task of hanging Christmas lights was completed. I was already sweaty; so why not? I threw the debris into a pile for my other slightly less helpful son (the one who was watching football instead of hanging lights) to dispose of later.
I looked contentedly back at the house — admiring the lights — and at the various flower and fern beds, freshly weeded. And I thought to myself that I would have to linger here come Christmas break, for it certainly had to be more pleasant to work the yard in the cool of winter (ha!) when the weeds weren’t growing back…
Suddenly I noticed a big weed growing in the middle of the brick sidewalk that I had walked just yesterday.
What? How had I missed that?
I reached down to pull it — and it plucked out easily. No roots.
And then I heard my nice child chuckling — and realized he had noticed my weed pulling and had replanted one among the bricks. Just for me.
I laughed too.
Silly, uptight, irritable me. Fun is where you make it. So is merry. Lighten up, Sara. The lights are up; the weather outside may be frightful Florida style, but Christmas isn’t dependent on the temperature outside or in your heart. Ready or not, the spirit of Christmas is here. No more excuses.
Merry Christmas, here I come!