Well, the damn tree is finally up and decorated. Paul and I put it off for as long as we could, without ever talking about why we were putting it off. Last weekend we just seemed to be busy. The weekdays are too hectic with work. And so here we are. A week before Christmas and no tree yet.
This morning, though, as I headed off to buy the last of the gifts and the week’s groceries, and Paul got ready to go to the dump and then to the farm to get our Christmas turkey, we made a verbal agreement to finally set the tree up this afternoon.
So at about 3 0’clock, when every other chore was done, we finally brought up the tree stand. We dragged out our old familiar fake spruce, wrapped in old plastic table cloths. We went into the attic for the three boxes of ornaments, laying everything on the living room floor. We moved the couch, slid the recliner over and gave a sigh.
We went to work, thinking that it might take us an hour or so to have everything set up, decorated and all cleaned up again.
It was a long and interesting three hours.
I may have made one or two tactical errors. Like pointing out the fact that while Paul had to get on a chair to put the star on the top of the tree, in the past few years giant Matt had simply reached up his gargantuan arm and placed that same star on the topmost branch.
Or my observation that in the past three or four years the boys and I had NO PROBLEM getting the tree to stand up straight in its little green, three legged dish. NO PROBLEM.
I may have made a couple of comments along those lines. But it all turned out well.
Because my husband is a saint.
He brought up the tree, the stand, the little white and red skirt. He got the boxes down from the attic, and dragged them into the living room. He moved the furniture.
He figured out how to get the 8 sets of lights to join together in proper biological order (“Male to female to male to female……). He didn’t react when I sputtered, griped or complained.
And when the tree suddenly leaned over and tried to collapse, he simply went downstairs, got out the fishing line and carpet hooks and attached our old tree to the window frame. And started to hang up the ornaments.
Like the very first ornament that we bought for Kate, not intending it to be a family tradition. It was just cute, and she was obsessed with Big Bird. And it was very….inexpensive!
And all of the other ornaments that followed.
Every ornament holds a piece of my heart. Every one makes me smile, and every one gives my heart a little tug. Our tree is a history of our family life. It is a lopsided timeline of our years together, reminding us of our adventures, our experiences, our growth as individuals and as a unit.
As I sit here in my living room, looking at the sparkling lights and the mismatched and whimsical decorations, I am content. Our crazy quilt of a Christmas tree is proof, to me, that we have had a happy family life. It’s filled with broken legged deer, sledding Santa’s, Starbucks cups and tiny leather hiking boots. It’s filled with years of laughter and shared memories.
The tree is up. The damn tree. It still looks pretty good to me.