It happened. Christmas as I know it has changed forever.
After 10 long years of hauling 8 foot trees out of lots, onto my car, tying them down, driving them home, carrying them up the stairs to whatever apartment we’re living in at the time (always with stairs) and wrestling those bad boys into tree stands… finally the day has come that I have help.
That’s right, those little arms and legs finally had the strength to help her mommy carry the monster tree that she picked all the way home.
It was amazing. We were like two lumberjacks, one on each end, lifting and laughing, lifting and laughing. It felt like a right of passage. For her whole life she’s watched her mama do this — wishing she could help — but enjoying the one-woman show nonetheless. And me, always proving to her that I don’t need a man to get a Christmas tree. Always powering through the journey.
But this time we were a team. A much needed team since I had injured my back the day before. I would’ve muscled through it knowing me, but I didn’t have to. I had my daughter and she made it clear she had her mama’s back. Literally.
Once inside we fired up the candles, poured the eggnog, put on the tunes and began trimming that sucker. I still had to do the lights myself. I mean, let’s be honest, adults can barely figure that crap out — no kid is going to master the light fight. It truly is a hateful process. But, once that was done it was all about ornaments.
As always, going through the boxes led to memories and stories. History and emotions. We have ornaments from my childhood, my mom’s childhood, my daughter’s entire life, and the endless treasures passed along to us over the years from friends and family who have been a part of our annual Christmas Eve tree trimming party (a tradition that started when I was a baby and I carried it on once I had a baby of my own).
It took us deep into the night to finish decorating but once we were done we got to enjoy our favorite part. Snuggling on the couch in the dark letting the only light shining come from the tree. Of course, we deemed this our best tree ever. Of course, we say that every year about every tree. But, seriously, this is our best tree ever.
You did it again. You proved you don’t need a man to get a Christmas tree.
I smiled, then,
True… but I did need you, baby. Thank you so much for being my helper.
You never have to do it alone again, mama.
And she fell asleep by the tree.
The cat started drinking water from the stand and the dog circled and barked at it in confusion.
And me? I have a heating pad on my back, sap in my hair… and a child who suddenly looks just a little bit older in my eyes.
There’s a tree in my house.