Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Christmas Tree


The tree lot was empty that night except for us.  “Find a tree,” I said rather foolishly to Jeremy and Erin.  They ran among the rows of trees.  “I want this one!” cried Erin.  “No, I want this one!” yelled Jeremy.

Erin ran to another tree.  It was a huge tree meant for a room with a vaulted ceiling, not for our den.  She stared at it longingly, but she knew it was not to be.  After a while, Erin and Jeremy ran to the same tree.

“I want this tree!” shouted Erin.

“I saw it first!” said Jeremy.

Melanie and I looked at the tree.  It was the right height and shape.  Melanie envisioned how it would look in our den.  I untied it from the stake and turned it around, and she looked at it from all angles.  She pulled her hand across the needles to see how dry the tree was. 

“It looks good,” she said.  And that was that.  We bought the tree.  I helped the salesman load the tree into the trunk of the car.  Once home, I stood the tree up in a bucket of water outside on our deck. 

Two nights later we pulled out the boxes from the storage room under the stairs that held all of the tree decorations.  Each decoration holds a memory of a Christmas past.  So, as we placed each decoration on the tree, we relived all of our Christmases together.

When we finished we stood back to look at it.  It was beautiful, not because we had done such a good job but because of all the excitement and joy of the event itself.  The tree could be nothing but beautiful, no matter what or how we had decorated it.

The children ran to the lamps and turned them off so they could see the full effect.
“Let’s go outside,” said Erin, “ so we can see what it looks like from out there.”

We bundled the kids in blankets, just as we had done since Erin was a month old, and carried them down the steps onto the front lawn.   We looked at our Christmas tree, shining through the window into the night.

“I remember when we first did this,” said 4-year-old Jeremy beneath the blankets in his mother’s arms.

“No you don’t,” yelled eight-year-old Erin, looking over my shoulder at him.  “I’m the oldest and we’ve been doing this since before you were born.  I remember when we first did this and you don’t.”

“Hey, it doesn’t matter.” I told them.  “Let’s look at the tree.”

As we stood in the dark in the front yard, the lights on the tree seemed to shimmer and dance.  “This is the beautifulest tree we ever had!” exclaimed Jeremy.  His words turned to steam as he spoke.

We all agreed.  The tree was beautiful, more beautiful than any other tree we had ever had.  But they all were, and all had been, and they all would be more beautiful than the last. 

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