If you click on this you should be directed to Amazon's site to purchase the item in the photo. Why purchase a large plastic Santa, you may wonder? I wondered the same when Lonny in one of our first forays into decorating a large, new-to-us, home presented one for my approval. This particular Santa isn't the one he found, but it is similar enough.
We were at Walmart and while I stupidly searched for elegance and distinction amid the clutter of real life, Christmas and all, he searched for things to delight and amuse a new bride who was hopelessly out of her element, lost really in conflicts so silly I am embarrassed to remember them. I wanted to impress my neighbors. I wanted them to like me.
Lonny knew we were already welcomed, largely because we didn't try to impress. Lonny knew I secretly wanted the hard plastic Santa, and so did he because it would please me. He held up the decoration and moved to the center of the aisle. "Bev, what do you think? Great huh?" He shouted over the din of holiday shoppers.
I turned, embarrassment flushing my cheeks. What did I think? Not that. Never that. I was thinking delicate gold branches in planters strewn with tiny white lights. I was thinking beautiful but understated.
He was thinking, beloved Bride understated elegance will never work for us, and you probably won't find it here in this store. Perhaps I can distract you with color and lights. Perhaps then you won't be so disappointed with your efforts.
Why wouldn't elegant gold branches with tiny white lights work for us? Because I was never that girl or woman, or decorator even. I liked colors, big fat round Christmas C-9s in enough shades to never repeat over a ten foot length. My closet bore the same strain of trying to professionalize. Somber women's suits with a few beige or white silk blouses, hung neatly in the back encapsulated in their dry-cleaning bags, some still held their price tags. Outrageous prints tumbled to the front, well-worn and softened by numerous machine washes. I knew better than most, that the price of adulting your wardrobe, and by extension your way of life, was impossibly dear and not, in the end, worthwhile. I kept trying. I was married after all and should to comply with perceived standards.
But Lonny knew me. He knew I liked colors. He knew I was trying desperately to fit some image, he couldn't quite grasp. He knew he loved me and that I loved him, and that he wanted to please me.
One of my biggest small regrets happened that night, but it taught me a lesson. I told him no, no Santa. I grimaced. I saw his face fall. I tried not to care, not to 'get it.' I turned my nose up, and shopped for tiny white lights and gold branches.
For several years now, I have searched for that Santa. This one on Amazon was way too expensive. This one would have been his present this last Christmas. It would have said to him, how did you know? It would have asked, how could you know me so well and I not know myself? I would have said, husband of mine, I love you and I am so sorry I didn't see. I am so sorry for all of my distractions, new pretentious Christmas decorations when we were first married, wanting homes and yards and meaningful stuff, the best, the most perfect, or not at all. But you were the best, surely the best for me. I cherished our time together, and then ... and then I couldn't stand to see you failing, couldn't stand seeing your clear blue eyes vacant of understanding, you who knew I wanted a brightly colored Santa with all my heart. Oh you sweet man, how I miss you. How I miss the way that you loved even me.
Painfully slowly, I learned to ask Lonny before attempting a new scheme. I learned to seek the church's needs before I plowed forward with what I thought was my calling. I learned so slowly that there is One and more than One who loves even me. With Lonny's help, I learned that those things I would dismiss as inappropriate to me were often where I should turn to grow.
Well that's enough of me. More of Lonny later. Thank you for reading. Bev