December 15, 2010

this tree's journey


This was the year we had decided to make the switch... to a real tree. Two Christmas' ago the fairgrounds around the corner started selling trees, and many friends raved on and on about how much fun it was to go and choose your tree... and that the trees were great, right down to the price tag. Finally, I gave in... and agreed that we would make the switch, even after vowing (14 years ago) to never again have a real tree in Florida.

Off we went... to the forest of trees set under the pavillion. My eyes sparkled and my smile grew as I spotted the pile of snow that greeted us. It is fine by me if Florida snow comes from a chipper instead of the sky... any bit of snow swells this New England girl's heart! We wandered the rows and rows of trees... ran our fingers down branches, peeked through them for a picture and breathed in the scent of them. We chose a not-too-big tree... had it tied to the roof, and headed home with excitement. Once set inside, I realized that I am a much better judge of size than I thought, but still loved our tree just the same. Fingers sticky with sap, I continued to wrap lights and lights and more lights around the branches... and the twinkling from within the branches was like thousands of rainbow-colored fireflies...

When it was finally time to pull out the boxes of tissue-clad ornaments, I studied the branches, wondering if perhaps they had started to droop... but I pushed the thought aside, deciding that it was just my imagination. At Eric's announcement that we wouldn't be able to get all the ornaments on the tree, I cried, my spirit crushed all at once, wishing I had pushed for a larger tree... recalling that this was the main reason I had agreed to the real tree. I let it ruin the decorating for me. I didn't laugh or recall stories about the precious ornaments we unwrapped... it was all I could do to hold it together as I searched for branches strong enough to hold them. When the boxes were just about empty, I quickly grabbed lids and didn't even push to have that moment when we turn out the lights and just sit back and enjoy the view... pity party anyone? After the kids went off to bed, I had rearranged a few ornaments... further adding to my mood as I realized that this was the Mom I never wanted to be. Finally, I stood back and tried to admired our Christmas tree... seeking a smidgen of joy to banish my bad attitude.

I check the water level frequently, and am discouraged that it doesn't need to be filled. I sit and watch the branches, wondering if they are drooping further even as I look on. Eric took the drill to the tree trunk, hoping that it might drink in more from the sides... and considered undecorating the tree and drilling further. I refuse... and rationalize that if it doesn't make it we are going to have to do that anyway... so lets just wait. I find comfort only in that the branches are not shedding needles... and that seems to keep me from losing it completely. Every night we light the tree... and instead of admiring it and feeling the warmth and joy it fills the house with, I let the uncertainty fill my heart and mind with stress. I long to just accept the situation, long to see the ornaments and lights instead of the branches they hang precariously from.

Last night I sat in the quiet... just me and the tree. I splashed some water in the well, thankful that it was needed. I run my hand down the branches and still... no needles fall to the floor. My eyes skip to the treasures nestled between the evergreen... and as I count the days until Christmas, a peace comes over me. Perhaps we are going to make it after all. And now... as I sit and write just a few more words, and wonder why I have set such a high standard for this tree, the branches don't seem as weak as I thought they were. Maybe the water... maybe the little bit of love offered... or perhaps just a new outlook through these stormy eyes.

There is so much I believe in. Bethlehem's story. The spirit of Santa Claus. Friendships and everlasting love. Today I make peace with my tree... and choose to believe it was meant to be a part of our celebration, the bearer of family treasures.

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p.s. I also believe that the tree will be down long before Super Bowl Sunday this year... which would be Eric's motivation for the real tree.

4 comments:

Richella said...

Oh, my sweet tender-hearted friend. . . your glimpse into the holy always makes my day. May your tree be a shining symbol of all that is good, whether it stands tall or droops. And may your soul be filled with the warmth of those lovely lights and treasured memories. You are golden.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Laughing at your PS comment!!!
Smiling at the beauty of your tree...it has a story. And the family surrounding it has an even BIGGER story; Love.
I think it is beautiful.

ps. doesn't it smell good though??? That is what I miss.

Kay said...

I was thinking you didn't have much to worry about until I read the comment about the super bowl. Wow...we are ready to see our (fake) tree come and then we're ready to see it go. Most years we open presents on Christmas eve and by mid day on Christmas day we're ready to take it down. I don't think we ever had a real tree. Enjoy it! *jealous*

tracie @ {tsj} photography said...

these comments have already said it! i just want to add {again} that i love your heart! and seeing your tree makes me smile!