|This little bird was quite the model.|
As soon as hugs were over and suitcases were put in away, Mother ushered me into her living room. There, before the wide picture window, stood the tree. Brightly lit. Heavily decorated. Presents clustered around the base.
"See my little birds," she would say. "I got them all on the tree."
Mother loved "little birds." She had dozens for decorating (she and I shared a love for the red bird), especially for the Christmas tree. One year, during the holiday, I decided to take walk around the lake. I spied several birds, took pics, and then came home and showed Mother. She instantly wanted me to take her to where I'd seen the "little birds."
|The bird who waited for Mother and me to return.|
Mother kept all her holiday decorations in the attic. Each year after Thanksgiving, my brother would climb the stairs and--one by one--would then haul tradition back down. Mother spent the day watching Hallmark Holiday movies (she and I talked through them) and decorated.
Her last Christmas was "decor-less." In November my brother fell about 20 feet from a tree, broke his back, and wasn't climbing anything for a while. Mother bought a very tiny tree "up town," one that could sit atop the television. She said to me, "I didn't get to bring my decorations down but that's okay. My children are more important than my little birds."
What a precious thought. Hadn't Jesus once said something similar?
Then she added, "I'll bring everything down next year. Just gives me more to look forward to."
Of course, we had no way of knowing she would never place a little bird on the tree again. After our Christmas spent together, my brother climbed those stairs, brought down the boxes marked: CHRISTMAS and we began to divvy up "the last of it." My brother said he probably wouldn't decorate the way Mother did and I do, so I took the majority of the items.
Yesterday, I started placing little birds on my tree.
"See my little birds?" I could hear her say. "Aren't they pretty?"
Yes ma'am, they sure are.