They got married in 1953, when she was a sweet 16, and he was a brash 20. She had loved Christmas her whole life, and when it came to decorating for it, she had a dream in her mind to do it up grand, there in their first little house together. He thought that it was all a bit silly, what with them just starting out and all, but he indulged her anyway, because he loved her, and even though times were terribly tight, they had a little tree that first year, with a few small ornaments that she made by hand, and a bright red bow that she lovingly tied to the top of the little tree.
Their first son was born the following year, and their Christmas tree was bigger. A second son arrived two years after that, and Christmas that year was spent in a new, bigger house, with a big Christmas tree embellished with all kinds of ornaments and tinsel, and Christmassy knick-knacks here and there as well, quite a few of them store-bought.
By the time their third and last son made his appearance in their lives, four years later, Christmas in their home was quite a grand affair, and with every year that followed, it got a little bigger and noisier and brighter and better. Whatever differences they may have had in their family, at Christmas time those differences were set aside for Mom, because she so loved Christmas. Interestingly enough, by the time the New Year rolled around, quite often those differences seemed smaller and far less important.
Their middle son died in 1999, and Christmas dimmed near to dark that year. It never did regain its full lustre and brightness, and ten years after her boy went, she died too. Christmas that year was hard, and sad, and made mostly bearable by the brilliant thought of her only daughter-in-law: Let’s take a tree to Mom, she said to the menfolk, ignoring the initial looks of confusion and impatience and pain on their faces, and after a few days of discussion, the decision was made: Mom would not miss her Christmas tree.
Seven years have passed now. Dad loves visiting her, especially at Christmas, loves thinking of her enjoying the tree and watching the grandkids frolic around it, and feels in his heart that he’ll see her again soon, before next Christmas for sure.