I'm loving our little tree this year.
Each year we put it up in the living room, where I never go most days, so never actually appreciate it. But with Ned's reorganizing going in full swing, meaning there was too much stuff in the living room to put a tree, I decided to set it up on a small table in the family room.
I can sit at my desk in my office and look at it. I see it all day long and it makes me smile.
For most people, Christmas is still a week away, but our Christmas will be Saturday, when Tom and family will be here. We're just going to have our Christmas celebration then. I've even purchased a turkey and all the fixin's for a regular Christmas dinner.
The Christmas cookies have been baked and delivered and today I got the packages wrapped, so I'm all ready for "Christmas" whenever it comes. We haven't decided yet if we are going to try to get my mother over here for Christmas or not. I'm thinking probably not. If it would mean something to her, sure, but it won't and after the first few minutes she'll be confused and ask me a dozen time who the cute little girls are, unable to process that they are her great grandchildren, which cuts each time she asks because she was so excited about becoming a great grandmother ten years ago when Brianna was born...and even after Lacie was born seven years ago.
I've been looking through old photo albums and coming across a bunch of our "Christmas train" pictures. One of my favorite holiday traditions.
We did this for many years....the kids usually had matching pajamas and I would usually line them up under the tree--this was one of the earlier pictures (1981) and I guess we hadn't yet moved it to the tree yet. When we had foreign students, we would include them in the tree. I don't remember how many years we did this--but many, many years. It's fun to look at those old books and see how the kids change from year to year.
While I am thinking fondly of our Christmas traditions -- the tree, Bing Crosby' Christmas carols, egg nog, the big family dinner, the egg nog gala, etc, I am afraid that my thoughts go to these guys.
These are some of the kids in that tent city in Texas where children without parents, who either traveled to the US alone or who were taken from their parents at the border are being housed. This incarceration location is the largest, except for one other, "prison" in the United States. For children. With barbed wire and armed guards....and no plans for how to release them. It is near capacity and more kids are added every day. It has already quadrupled in size.
When these kids go to bed on Christmas Eve, if they even know it's Christmas Eve, there won't be any place to hang a stocking (if they have stockings)
Santa's not going to be coming down the chimney and there won't be turkey and presents for them. It's hard to fully enjoy the holiday here when I know there are thousands of children missing their parents and who may never get out of this prison.
(We won't even talk about the "the lucrative, secretive world of the migrant-shelter business. About a dozen contractors operate more than 30 facilities in Texas alone, with numerous others contracted for about 100 shelters in 16 other states." --NY Times)
And then there is this. It was inevitable. It is, sadly, probably only the first of what will eventually be more deaths. This seven year old girl died 10 hours after being separated from her father at the border. She died of dehydration and septic shock. Dehydration. They never gave her a glass of water after she had been walking through the desert with her father, escaping terrible conditions in her home country, hoping for asylum. Seven years old. Lacie is seven years old.