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  • The Tree

    November 30, 2007

    I’m decking my halls y’all and working on my tree and spreadin’ the sparkly, so today I leave you with this post from December of 2005.

    * * * * *

    It is December 3rd, 2005 in the year of our Lord, and I am kicking off the season that celebrates His birth by standing on the top step of an 8-foot-ladder, where there is a sticker that reads “Only An Idiot Would Stand Here.” And for those idiots who can’t read, this point is illustrated with a picture of a stick man falling to his death.  Let’s bow our heads and have a moment of silence for the stick man. 

    So then.

    This Norman Rockwell scene is made even more ridiculous by the fact that it’s 80 degrees outside. I am wearing a tank top, shorts and flip flops and I’m sweating bullets as I try to coax, cajole and contort sparkly wired ribbon into appearing as though it fell effortlessly and naturally from heaven into cascading spirals onto my big fake tree. The thought that I might rather be doing something else, like flossing my teeth with an ornament hanger, crosses my mind.

    Why oh why do I do this? Because it’s our tradition.

    Two years ago, Sean was due on Christmas day he but came six weeks early. Needless to say, after a C-section and then the stress of having a baby in the NICU followed by the marathon sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn in the house, I was in no position/mood/state of consciousness to get on a ladder and put up a tree. My sister-in-law, Terrye, who is the nicest woman on the entire earth, came to my house and put up my tree that year, and it was never more beautiful. There were many nights that first Christmas season that Sean and the dog and I got up for 2am feedings and then snuggled together under the glow of the Christmas tree afterwards. I remember watching him sleep and trying to memorize his face as it looked bathed in Christmas light. I would bend my ear down low and listen to him breathe, amazed at what a miraculous thing that life is. Those are special memories for me. Those are memories I wouldn’t have had if it were not for Terrye putting up my tree.

    Last year I was recovering from thyroid cancer but I managed to put up a tree and all the trimmings anyway. Having been surgically relieved of my thyroid, I had the energy (and appearance) of a three-toed sloth, but it seemed important to maintain a sense of normalcy, which in December means doing too much, spending too much, eating too much and putting up a tree. But again, there were many nights last December when Antique Daddy and I just sat in silence on the sofa with a sleeping boy in our arms watching the lights twinkle on the tree. We didn’t have to look much beyond our noses to find blessings to count.

    So this year, once again, I am risking my life on a ladder to put up a tree because willful and wanton violation of OSHA standards is our tradition. And I am complaining the whole way because that is part of the tradition too. I know that my little family will make precious Christmas memories in the shadow and light of this tree in the coming days of December that I will store up and treasure in my heart long after the season has passed.

     And for that I would stand on anything.

    15 Comments »

    1. Chaotic Joy says:

      I love this post. Really love it. It really explains why we put ourselves through this madness every year. Thank you for this.

      November 30th, 2007 at 10:11 am

    2. Mamacita says:

      I love your post, especially the part about making memories “in the shadow and light of the tree”. It reminds me of when my boy was little. Once the tree was decorated, we’d turn out the lights, and he’d want us to hold hands while we gazed upon it. I’ll always remember that.
      P.S. Thank you for being the first to leave a comment. I was so excited to see it!

      November 30th, 2007 at 11:23 am

    3. Elaine says:

      Oh yes. Always real, indeed.

      November 30th, 2007 at 11:53 am

    4. wordgirl says:

      I ask myself why I do these things. Tradition doesn’t always seem to be a strong enough reason…and yet…it succeeds in getting my butt through the season every year.

      November 30th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    5. Sue says:

      Lovely.

      November 30th, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    6. Rennagayle says:

      Thanks for the reminder of ‘why we do it’. I had just about talked myself out of it this year. My kiddo’s are now grown, so it’s just hubby and me sitting in the glow of those twinkly lights at night, well…hubby, me, the dog, the other dog, the cat, and sometimes grown son…but well, it’s still quite magical. I don’t believe in magic.

      I believe in celebrating the season as a rememberance of our Savior’s birth, but if I had to describe inone word, that feeling I get when sitting in a room lit only by the glow of twinkly lights, it would be “magical”.

      November 30th, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    7. Kiy says:

      This will be our first year, watching a baby sleep by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. I have been bugging the husband since November 9th to put up the tree. 🙂

      Great post, thanks for sharing it. I missed it on it’s first go ’round.

      November 30th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    8. Jodie Dardeau says:

      I love this story. It makes so much sense of why we go through the hastle of the tree. It’s totally about the memories. Great post!

      November 30th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    9. Teah says:

      Thank you for the inspiration. (See my blog.) I won’t be having a tree this year, but I need to find a safe spot in the house where I can put up a few fairy lights to amaze my daughter.

      November 30th, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    10. Nicki says:

      I love that you still do all of this stuff even though you don’t like it much. Your family will have amazing memories of the holidays, and that’s what it’s about, right? This was really sweet.

      November 30th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    11. Jennifer says:

      Sigh…You managed to make me laugh and then tear-up. Can I hire you to write up our memories like that? I hate that I haven’t done a better job at keeping track of our most precious moments. I am so afraid I am going to forget all the details, but I have no talent when it comes to writing. Oh, but you have it, you really have it.

      November 30th, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    12. Jen says:

      What a wonderful post. Yes many blessings.

      November 30th, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    13. Jeana says:

      So have you made a Wal-Mart run for crup yet?

      November 30th, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    14. Michelle says:

      I can’t even remember now how I found your blog, but I’ve been reading it for a little while now, and I just love your writing. It always makes me laugh and cry, and cry because I’m laughing and laugh that I’m crying! I loved your recent post on sweaters…that was awesome and I can definitely relate. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your life.

      December 1st, 2007 at 2:14 am

    15. Michele says:

      Watching my children sleep by the light from a Christmas tree is one of my favorite things too. It is such a magical time where everything is pretty and smells good. One of my least favorite times of year is when all the decorations come down. I always feel like my house looks so boring when it goes back to its old self.

      Have a blessed Christmas.

      December 2nd, 2007 at 11:17 am

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