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FROM UGLY BETTY TO DROPDEAD GORGEOUS
I have something to confess. We haven't taken down our Christmas tree yet. I know, know, it's been almost a month since Christmas. But it's not because we're too crazed with other things or we're disorganized (although those are ever-present factors), it's because I can't bear to part with her. (The tree's a "she," by the way, but more of that in a minute.)
When our daughter, Abigail, walked into the living room the day before Christmas Eve and saw "Betty," she said, "Wait. That'sthetree???" Our daughter, Kate chimed in with "Wow, where'd you get that?!" "I know, I know," I said. "This was pretty much the last tree standing at the nursery. We were in a hurry. We didn't think it looked that bad...we...." Kate's boyfriend, David, said, "Well, look, maybe if we turn it they'll be a better side." "We tried that," I said. "It doesn't actually have a better side..."
Picking the "right" Christmas tree has always been a major priority in our family. It had to be beautifully shaped: tall but not too tall; full but not too full, and have an elegant top - usually for a star or an angel - but lately for a wise old, white owl with a special glint in his eye that looks straight at you, no matter where you're standing. But obviously, we really blew it this Christmas.
But then everything changed. David, a creative director who always looks at things - rooms, flower arrangements, recipes, even people - with "new eyes," turned his attention to...Ugly Betty. "It'll be fine when it's decorated," he said. "And you know what’s actually interesting?" he asked, walking around the tree, “all those 'holes.'" Let's look around for what we could put in them." We did. And we found gorgeous, big bows made of sparkly ribbon and large, feathery ornaments that we rarely used, pictures of Kate and Abigail when they were little, ornaments they'd made out of popsicle sticks and rhinestones in the second grade - and big bunches of berries and holly from the yard. There was almost nothing we found that didn't look gorgeous in a "hole." But back to the ornaments: We used all of them. Every single one, (including the wise old owl). If you could hang it or tuck it in somewhere, it was a go. Needless to say, there wasn't a "design" or "theme" to the tree like some people have; but there was an attitude...one we borrowed from Miss Piggy: "More is more."
So here's what happened. We all fell in love with her. "Ugly Betty," that is. In fact, I don't remember ever having such affection for a tree - Christmas or otherwise. And the thing about Betty is, she's still going strong, she hasn't shed her needles, she continues to draw water out of her tree stand, she's standing up straight and proud. So you can understand why I couldn't allow her to join one of those annual piles of stripped and tossed out Christmas trees you see on every street, waiting for the trash guys, right? Not yet, anyway. But even when she does finally make her exit, she'll do it with flair. Why wouldn't she? She's dropdead gorgeous. And for me anyway, unforgettable.
Imagine what could happen if we decided to have "new eyes?" All those "holes," gaps, flaws and myriad imperfections we see in ourselves could be filled, covered and decorated with the "gorgeous stuff” of our lives we’ve forgotten about. We could gather it all up. We could stand up straight and tall and "wear it." I mean, what would Miss Piggy do...?
Betty’s final bow....
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