I looked at the glittering star and wreath my four-year-old grandson Ben had delightedly helped me hang on the wall. I felt a twinge of sadness and knew I had to get to the root of it. Ben and I had had a delightful time decorating a few days ago. Why was remembering it now making me sad?
My first thought was that all the decorations were from the Dollar Store. Such a contrast with the pricey items lining the aisles in every store! Next, I realized I had subconsciously envisioned covering every available surface of my tiny apartment with glittering tinsel and garland and bells and wreaths. Ben and I had made two trips to the Dollar Store and had quickly spent the ten dollars I had allocated, which was all my budget allowed. However, the ten decorations looked few and far between to my adult eye.
Then, thankfully, common sense and a grateful attitude prevailed. Ben could not yet perceive the difference between our decorations and those in the mall windows.
Not only that, for a solid hour last Tuesday, Ben had been in charge of the decorating project, which satisfied his emerging leadership qualities.. As we opened the packaging, we discussed the best placement for the wreath, the star, the bell door knocker, the huge red bow, the two soldiers, the two red skates and the “candy sticks”, to which we tied the jingle bells. But Ben made the decisions, with confidence and big smiles each time.
As I had done with his Mom, I had taken the little I had and make it seem much to his innocent eyes. As we celebrated our decorating with some shared crackers, Ben’s eyes sparkled as he looked around. He said things like, “I really like the shiney star, Nana” and “I have a soldier and stocking and Allen has a soldier and a stocking. Thank you, Nana.”
If you look at the picture again, you will see the star hangs next to the plague that says “Enjoy the little things in life. . . for one day you will realize that they were the BIG THINGS.” Truth was literally, written on the wall.
I had to face the fact that I had had unrealistic – and materialistic – expectations. Aye, there was the rub! And, I reflected, it had been a problem ever since childhood. How had I let it go on this long? And how much joy had been stolen each year? I knew I had more mental cleaning house to do.