Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Tale of Two Trees

We met in March, married in April, and moved to Montana in May. Whirlwind romance doesn't begin to describe it. It was crazy, stupid, and wrong (in more ways than one). So when I say it was our first Christmas what I mean is: I didn't know anything about being "together" during a holiday, nothing about family traditions, nothing about not going home. Nothing.

And then we had our first big fight. And by "big fight" I mean all encompassing - you're not gonna change me- NO, I'm not just like your Grandma- kinda fight. Basically two bulls met in the china shop and neither bull won. And ya wanna know why? I will tell you why, and he might go all guy-ish and say he doesn't remember or that it wasn't such a big deal but I REMEMBER, cause it was our first fight. And my life was almost over cause of it.

It was all due to the fact that I wanted a fake tree. Not just any fake tree either; I'm talking super fake with ONLY blue and white ornaments. And snowmen. If it wasn't blue, white, or snowman shaped it wasn't going anywhere NEAR my tree. Cause it was our first one and I wanted it to be special, something to be remembered, something to be proud of. His idea of "special" and "proud" were different than mine.

He wanted his ornaments his Momma just gave him on my blue, white, and snowman tree. But he didn't tell me that. He didn't even tell me that his Momma GAVE him the ornaments. I didn't know. I also didn't know that fake tree and 'Montana' don't mix. Its like adding pine-sol and bleach. Or is it Lysol? Anywho- you should never mix cleaning supplies or go on a huffing spree even if it is Christmas.

Back at it: The fight was on, only see it wasn't fair cause I thought we were fighting cause he kept picking on me saying stuff like "I can't believe I married my GRANDMOTHER" and then talk smack about how  Grammy can't cook and how she has a tree that only has blue and white and snowman ornaments. He was mean and hurt my widdle feewings. All the while I kept hurting his just by not recognizing his need for... for..... well, for lack of better wording- tradition.

Tradition doesn't feel like the right word, its something more- like Alice  I didn't have my "muchness" and I didn't even realize it. So long story short it wasn't exactly the bestest first Christmas ever. Unfortunately neither was our second- which was really our third cause he was deployed for the 'real' second one. It was back to the whole "tree" thing again. I just didn't get it; it wasn't about the ornaments.

Fast forward a whole lotta years: The kids and I decorated our tree tonight. We went through every box of ornaments and told stories about some while others were shoved on as fast as possible so they could each hang more than their sibling. Finally the end came and I tucked them into their beds and sat on the couch looking at that dang tree. The kids each put some of Daddy's ornaments on. I saved a few to put on myself. The kids had put all of his right at eye level (so basically the top and bottom of the tree are totally covered with not much in the middle) so I spread them all out and added the ribbons and bows that tiny hands couldn't quite master.

I think I get it now. The ones we love the most are the ones that have been around the longest. I don't care anymore if my tree is bluewhitesnowman. My tree has all colors, shapes, sizes (I like to think its an equal opportunity tree). What makes it great is the stories we share about each one, the memory, the love. Its not about the commercialization- the best ones are made by generations of tiny hands.  And for us its one more way to try and fill in the hole he left behind. For me, its one more physical representation of how that man has made me a better person without even trying.

And it occurred to me that all you can see 
in this pic are the blue and white ornaments,
but I totally swear there are TONs of others.
Stupid flash.

ps: Most awesome tree skirt EVER, handmade by the bestest sister ever. Even if her name is Bert.

pps: I think the angel is about to take a flying leap. Prolly I should cut down the branch that is shoved so rudely up her derrière so she is a little more stable.


  1. I needed this. We've been having an unspoken war here over the damned tree (I wanted it all red; only red; no gussy gussy tacky crap) to the point that I have been refusing to turn the damn light on it... (Yes, I know. I play bratty 4 yr. old well.)

    This made me realize I am missing the whole point. Thanks. (But, for the record, I would still *prefer* my pretty red tree...)