The C-9 Life

Have you ever driven by a home and everything is pristine? From the landscaping to the manicured yard, the white lights burning brightly in the window…

When we moved to Daylilly Farms, our multigenerational land that houses parents, children, grandchildren and great grands, that is what I envisioned. I was growing accustomed to life with Noah. The uptick in doctor visits, therapies, a slower life …but I was still clinging to the ‘American Dream.’

I began decorating for the holidays, making cookies with the kids, hanging the outdoor lights on the eaves. My vision was becoming a reality as I placed a single white candle light in each of the windows. Legend has it, that in Colonial Times the light represented a safe haven for those traveling dark, lonely paths. Houses that had these candles would be a place of safety and refuge for weary visitors. I’d love to say that was what I was signifying by putting one on each sill. In reality, it was that I was declaring that I too had an immaculate, tidy home and life.

I made sure that each of the candles were centered in the window and secured so that at night we had a warm glow beckoning from within. I was going to take this life, with its diagnosis and brokenness and manhandle it into the image of my own making.

The next evening as I was making dinner, I peeked out to check on Noah and he had the electric candle stuck in his mouth like a lollipop! I ran over and snatched it out of his mouth. I carefully repositioned it, then I secured it back to the windowsill. Crisis avoided…or so I thought. Night after night, the candles would be turned on, and like a magnet, Noah would toddle over and insert them in his mouth. I tried stronger tape to hold them down, he would just rip them off with both hands.

A logical response would be, put the candles away! If I put them away then I was admitting that my life wasn’t perfect, pristine, shiny. Obviously, the candles had way more emotional significance than their $2.00 price tag. After going back and forth with Noah for a week, him waiting expectedly for the lollipops to light up; me patrolling the perimeter like a prison guard, I gave up.

Who was I kidding? Myself? My family? The church? My friends? This was a three ring circus, and I was the ringmaster! I ripped the lights from the sockets and threw them into the trash can. As an Ennegram 8, I have no moderation, I’m either one hundred percent in or out. I was definitely out.

Joe and I took the four kids and marched to the back of our pasture, I pointed to the top of a blue spruce. We chopped it down and hauled it back home. It had to be eight feet tall and ten feet across! We named it Behemoth. Up until this particular Christmas, our trees were always decorated with white lights. Not this year..I was done with the farce! We weren’t a ‘white light’ family.

I went out and purchased the biggest, brightest colored lights I could find C-9 bulbs. We hung them on Behemoth, she was a sight to behold. If the dream was going to die then I was going to light the sucker on fire! The Phoenix that arose is still talked about each Christmas.

I still use the C-9 lights every Christmas season, much to the chagrin of my grown children. Ceeniner is my handle on Words With Friends (if you ever want to play.) Now when we drive through neighborhoods and I see the twinkly white candles burning in the windows of the stately houses in the curated neighborhoods; I look back at my Noah and offer him a circus peanut and enjoy the ride!

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