I am a little tired from the Sunday night shindig. We had some family over to watch the Super Bowl, but even with all the kids, the crowd numbered fewer than twenty. So, it was more of just a shin. Nevertheless, the house had to be tidied and decorated, which is a time-consuming, but necessary, project. If it wasn't for family dinners and parties, my house would never get cleaned. I hate cleaning. I especially hate the mundane, routine tasks: changing the toilet paper rolls, loading the dishwasher. So, I had to laugh out loud the day Two asked me if I liked cleaning, because he noticed I spent a lot of time doing it.
I do like a nice presentation, though. I labored over the design of this blog like I might be graded on it. I chose the background, because the stars have one point for each boy I've birthed. I wanted a dark background, but not black, to convey the intimacy of my thoughts. I considered fonts for a ridiculous amount of time, to find one that would seem casual (like handwriting), irreverent, but not immature. See? It looks fun, but I take this shit seriously.
I approach party decoration from a similar angle. I like a central theme, either in the color scheme (white for New Year's Eve to express the idea of a fresh beginning), texture (handmade linen sheets as tablecloths for Thanksgiving, to recognize hard work and family tradition), or tabletop (my fave from this year was tools, nursing implements, and teacher supplies in old coffee pots for Labor Day!). Almost no one notices the theme (Labor Day was especially obscure), but it's the party facet I most enjoy.
This year I bought an artificial tree that sits in my dining room as an "all-season" tree. It looks a little like a large, Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I got it from a local place that sells to the interior design trade, so it's incredibly realistic. It was marked down, down, down so I couldn't resist. I put it up for Thanksgiving, changed the decorations for Christmas (yes, it was first a "Thanksgiving tree", decked in cookie cutters and bejeweled fruits), and then forgot about it until the other day, when I realized that winter is probably sticking around because I haven't changed the holiday theme on my tree. That this seems like a reasonable explanation is proof that the weather has driven me insane.
I went and bought many hearts of all makes and models, and have transformed the tree. Three did his homework and watched as I worked, commenting every so often on the placement of a particular heart. The little boys were very excited when they got back from school to see what had transpired. I'm sure I'll tire of the tree by summer (who wants to look at a fake fir in the middle of July?) but today, it made me happy to do it. I hope, in some small way, I am teaching them that creation is a personal expression of joy. Even if no one else notices, or understands, it.