Saturday, 13 December 2014

Stars caught in the trees

Thanks to Anne for no 14...

(Pictured inside too so you can see the stars in the branches in the tyre as well as in the branches in the tree!)

When  I was little I loved Christmas.  Not just the presents (though they’re pretty great), but the mystery, the beauty, the anticipation, and the joy.  Opening windows on an advent calendar, decorating the tree and looking forward to spending Christmas day with my best friend and her family who always came to us for Christmas dinner.  

When you’re an adult, Christmas seems much harder – I get caught up with presents, Christmas concerts, baking, cleaning, shopping and managing the expectations of 3 children. My best friend’s mother, on the other side of the Atlantic, is suffering from Alzheimer’s and can no longer live at home – I’m thinking about them a lot and missing them.  Joy and mystery sometimes seem in short supply.  So when R first talked to me about making a star for Chatsworth Road, it seemed like a great idea.  I thought the making would be fun because it’s the kind of thing that I like, but I also thought it would make me slow down, think about what Christmas really means and give me a moment to reflect quietly and realise that if everything that I think needs to happen doesn’t it won't be the end of the world.

In the event, it didn’t go quite that way.  Today was my day for finishing my tyre, and it seemed like everything got in the way.  A shopping trip to Westfield (ugh), a broken sewing machine, a frustrated daughter trying to finish off the Christmas present she was making for me, plans to go out in the evening.  I ended up taking the finished product round to L’s house, wanting to have her hang it and wash my hands of it.  

But L was quietly encouraging and told me to come back and hang it on my way out.  R wanted to come along too along with some others, and so we ended up on Chatsworth Road, with L up a ladder (thanks for doing that for me!) and the rest of us encouraging her to the accompaniment of a rather rowdy group of young men somewhere in the background and the bemusement of the chip shop owners next to the tree we chose. I wanted the stars to look like they'd been caught in the tree branches - a bit whimsical I guess, but it looked better than I'd hoped!

I walked to my next engagement thinking about what lovely people both R and L are – how encouraging, loving and inspiring – and how they make my life in my little corner of London better.  And then I arrived at the friend’s house who was having a number of ex-Rushmore mums round for a drink and told them about my adventures.  It turns out one of my friends has been watching each star appear as she walks to school with her younger son in the morning which was nice too – it’s cheering to think about people looking out for them.  All of which put me in the perfect frame of mind to enjoy chatting and laughing with a group of women who I don’t see nearly enough now that our children are no longer in the same class at primary school, but who are also enormously important to me and make my life richer and warmer.  

Christmas is about love.  Maybe all the craziness in the run up to it and the emphasis we place on getting the details right is a way of showing our love, but it’s good to have a reminder of the point of it all. 


  1. My favourite yet

  2. You're making me cry!! Thanks for the beautiful words Anne! We all need a bit more love in our lives eh?