Well, over the last month Andra has made much out of the fact that I, MTM, was rather Grinch-like in my pre-Andra days. It is true that I had but two modest Christmas decorations then; certainly not the two-trees-worth I now share with Andra. It might be tempting to read between the lines of recent posts to conclude that I have suddenly embraced or am at least empathetic to the outpouring of ornaments that now adorn our home.
The truth is that I have been seduced not by sultry Santa stampings or alluring icicle adornments; it is the the temptations of Tradition that have taken hold of this tempered soul and transformed me into a Christmas convert. This is a much harder admission for someone whose ethic has long skewed to the progressive and modern…or as Andra has put it so often and honorably: Modernist Minimalist MTM.
To claim a tradition risks an admission of sentimentality; a difficult admission, especially for me. But here we are, ALW and MTM ensconced in the same hotel room, in the same northern city, doing the same thing we have done every year for the past ten (which conveniently corresponds to every year we have been in each other’s lives). Is this reiteration a force of habit, a lack of creativity or a fear of the unkown? I am confident that is not the case, as nearly every day of our marriage is embraced as a new revelation. Our extensive travels represent a kind of rootlessness, an antithesis to tradition. So what is it about this recurring Christmas custom we have to come to Montreal and cocoon in the cold and snow?
In my mind, ours is not a rejection of traditions we have been born into, whether they be expectant family gatherings or reverential rituals. Rather, I believe our coming to Quebec is a commemoration of our discoveries in common. That first Noël we shared was not intended to be an adventure, nor was it truly pregnant with the expectation that this would be a world-changing event, but nevertheless it changed us both. Or changed us into Both.
From that point forward we would always be Us, rather than her and him. As we learn new things everyday, things about each other and about the world, we do so together. And that has become our tradition. It is about more than the memories we share, it is about the discoveries we will make and the challenges we will conquer.
Notwithstanding all the memories attached to the ornaments that weigh down our trees back in Charleston, we are here and now celebrating our own Christmas tradition of looking to dreams of tomorrow and the new horizon that is still out there, continually receding as we hopefully charge towards it.
And so I have come to learn that the two ornaments that represented my Christmas tradition for so many years were one too many; it is my gift to have the one and only Andra by my side on this journey into the unknown. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
This post is part of the series Roll Out the Holly, about the stories Christmas ornaments can conjure. Click here to read the series from the beginning.