VEEDER: Christmas tree tumble puts things into perspective
I want to share with you all the holiday spirit that’s floating around this place. I’d really like to tell you that I’m writing this as I sip hot cocoa in my best holiday sweater while a Hallmark movie is playing on TV and the snow softly falls on the treetops outside.
I would have told you that, in my other life.
But this life looks less like “all is calm” and more like the giant cedar tree my family cut off of the ranch in the middle of the weekend’s blizzard toppling down in a huff of glitter and glass bulbs, timber style, just as I reached up and put on the finishing touches.
That was after four days of putting one or two ornaments on at a time as I got distracted by a nose wipe, a potty break, supper, a phone call, a visitor, a job or a coloring emergency. Yeah, coloring emergencies are a thing.
But thank goodness we narrowly missed a real emergency as I hollered “WATCH OUT” at my girls from atop my ottoman perch, as one of the biggest Christmas trees we’ve ever had in this house tried its best to take out my scruffy little daughters.
They came out unscathed, but blinking and wide-eyed, an ornament dangling from the oldest’s hair.
“Our TREE!” she exclaimed as I took an assessment of the damage.
And I would have cried except no one was bleeding and, well, of course this happened. Because I just got done sending a text to my friend telling her “I’m going to get this Christmas tree decorated if it’s the last thing I do,” and the universe laughed and laughed.
And so I did what any completely capable, calm, cool and collected woman, wife and mother would do — I called my husband, told him to bring power tools and went to the kitchen to bake cookies with the kids.
Because a tree trimming disaster that I can’t even blame on the cat? Well, it’s a long way from my heart.
In my other life, my younger life, before I had the experiences that have helped me sort the big things from the little things, I would have face-planted on my bed and declared it a holiday disaster.
But today? Well, today it was annoying at worst. Funny at best. Because I’m learning to give up the notion of perfect and give in to the eccentricities that are, frankly, embedded deep in my DNA.
Like, I will never be the woman who has scented holiday candles and matching Christmas towels in every bathroom of the house. But I will be the woman who is proud to show my husband that I put the Christmas lights up on the house, only to discover that I hung them with the plug on the opposite end of the outlet. I’m that woman.
And the holidays, well, they can get overwhelming or lonely or sad, even with all the sparkle and glitter and feel-good moments on TV. I know this. I get it. I’ve been there. If you’re missing a piece of you, or battling demons, or taking care of someone fighting for each breath, or fighting for a breath or a break of your own, you would give anything to be able to laugh at a Christmas tree tumble.
And maybe you would, because you know what the end of the world might feel like, the worst day of your life, the hardest thing you can imagine. And it’s not a living room filled with broken bulbs from Target.
And while I doubt Martha Stewart would drill her Christmas tree to the wall, I think I could give her some tips on how to ignore a 2-year-old attempting to climb in the kitchen sink while I help the 4-year-old make the Christmas cookies of her dreams in the middle of a life I used to pray for while watching the snow fall on the bare branches outside, in a quiet and clean house, alone and hoping, in my other life.