There are things in life that must be a certain way. Cabinet doors and drawers must be closed at all times. The fat fold of the towels must be facing outwards in the closet and beds must be made. These are my criteria for my house. I don’t think they’re absurd, but to many these are difficult goals to attain. I’m told that I have a bit of OCD, but I don’t think so. I think I’m just your normal, average, every day person who likes things her way. I’m human. Well, yesterday I let that “human” persona slide away just for a little bit as I allowed Davey to have his very own Christmas tree in his bedroom and I allowed him to decorate it.
I blame this side of my personality on my mother, not that it’s a bad side, but it is a side that I perhaps should let fall by the wayside at times. My mother has her own way of doing things. She’s very particular and she prefers doing it herself. It’s faster, it’s easier, she can blame herself if something goes wrong, and then there’s the sense of accomplishment with doing something on your own.
As children, my brother and I were never allowed to decorate a Christmas tree. Christmas was, and still is, my mother’s favorite holiday. She loves to decorate her house, erecting numerous trees for every room of the house, even providing each room with its own personal theme. We weren’t allowed to help decorate because there was the concern we would break things, but mostly I think it’s because as children we didn’t understand the necessity to separate out the ornaments when placing them upon the tree. We basically wanted to put them all in the same place.
Last year I allowed Davey to somewhat help me with decorating one of my trees and I encountered the same thing…his inability to see the full picture, or er tree. He wouldn’t even walk around the tree, he just seemed to zero in on one spot, pulled in by the force like that of a magnet. It was as if there was only one place for the ornaments to go, one place on a seven foot tree. I had a hard time with this last year and my patience, or lack thereof, took over and I shooed him away. This was definitely not how I saw my family decorating a tree.
This year I decided that I would let Davey have his very own tree and since it’s in his room which no one really ever sees, then he could decorate it however he wanted. The only stipulation was that he had to use a tree with decorations I already had or else make his own. I think the thought of making his own and the time involved bummed him out. Like his mommy, he doesn’t have much patience, and making ornaments would have delayed the erecting of the tree. So, he chose to have my Clemson tree in his bedroom, a perfect choice considering his bedroom is a sports theme.
As he and Henry ate their lunches, I put the actual tree itself up, checking to make sure all lights were working and that there was an easily accessible power outlet. Once that was completed and Henry was fast asleep for his afternoon siesta, Davey and I began the process of decorating the tree. And true to his previous form, he wanted to put all the ornaments in one location. And going against the grain, I stood back and let him.
Truth be told, it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be and probably the fastest I’ve ever had a tree decorated. For me, it was nice to quickly mark that one off the list of trees that need to be put up. For Davey, it was easily one of the most exciting times he’s had. For every ornament he put on the tree, he would step back and say, “mom, come take a look at this. Did I do a good job?” I loved that he wanted to please me, but it also saddened me a bit to know that he was seeking out my approval. I don’t want him to do everything to please me, especially things like decorating a Christmas tree. I want him to really enjoy it and I want him to have these memories as he grows older.
I loved watching him as he would study the tree, walking around it a couple of times, looking for just the right spot, which like I said seemed to be right next door to the previous ornament he’d had. I loved how he would stand back, after placing the ornament, and smile, proud of himself for what he’d done. I loved how he didn’t want to handle the glass ornaments, but instead handed those to me, wary of himself actually holding them. I loved how he wanted to just sit on his floor in the dark, looking at his lit Christmas tree. I could see the sense of accomplishment in his eyes and it made me happy. Happy that I had the ability to create another memory with him.
And…I was happy that I was able to cage up the OCD monster at least for this memory.
Christmas is a special time for everyone. Some of the greatest and most treasured memories are made during Christmas. I’m trying to keep that in mind this season as my boy’s are anxious to help Mommy do the decorating. So, OCD, you’ll need to take a holiday from these holidays.