Tuesday, December 22, 2009

make do

Work and family worries conspired to keep us from buying a tree this year. My girl, bless her, hauled out the holiday box herself and set to hanging lights around the windows and doorways instead. Then she got out the wee Christmas tree, once a gift from Santa to the American Girl dolls, and began to set up an arrangement on the coffee table. This is usually my place to spread my paperwork and to-do piles. I feel much better about it, covered with lights, gifts, and the best, most loved ornaments of the past 30 years.

Today the goddess of abandoned treasures left a fresh Christmas wreath on top of someone's trash pile. So now we are all decked out, free of charge.

The day after Christmas I drive solo down to Lancaster PA. I've been on the phone with moving companies, guys who just haul stuff, and folks who help to haul stuff away. The consensus seems to be there's no affordable way to get one piece of furniture (adorable love seat) from Lancaster to Poughkeepsie if you don't have your own van to move it in. Not to mention some nice strong friends to carry it up and down the stairs.

I've spent phone time and paperwork, too, to track down investments made 30 years ago, when I was in computers. Back, back, before the internet, before CDs; back when floppy disks were hot technology, and the personal computer had a black screen with a green cursor. I feel simultaneously productive and old. Somehow I've become the person who mails boxes of fruit for Christmas and runs after the daughter with the almost-forgotten lunch box.

A few weeks before she died, my grandmother told me "I don't know how I became 80. Inside I'm still 25." Maybe after we die we get to meet all those 25-year-old selves of folks we loved.


Rayna said...

ah, Linda, my heart is with you during this difficult season of dealing with your mother's stuff. I can't deal with mine, although my mother has been in assisted living for 3 years and won't be going home unless it is to die.

Your grandmother's words are the same ones I have spoken (substitute another number for 80)many times. It is heartbreaking if you dwell on it, so I try not to look in the mirror too often.

I hope you have a good Christmas -- your house looks wonderful and cheery!

Linda Branch Dunn said...

I do take comfort from the fantasy of meeting my grandmother as the girl she was.

I started my 401k when I was all grown up: in my 20s. Now I'm giving my girl the same advice about saving for retirement that my grandfather gave my mother when she was a girl. Life's a strange ride.