Picking Out Our Christmas Tree
It has been a tradition since we got married that we picked out our Christmas tree together. First as a couple, and then with the kids when they came along. Even when I was very pregnant and waddled around the lot, we picked it out as a family.
This year was different.
In The Past
Last year we waited until my husband was home for the week and where we wanted to get our tree literally has three left. I remember being sad, we had almost waited too long. We picked one regardless, and it was a good tree.
We have had trees akin to Charlie Brown’s, like during the year of unemployment because we simply couldn’t afford to buy one at full price, and finally got it on Christmas Eve. We don’t put them up right after Thanksgiving and often they are put up so late some years it often stays up into the New Year. But every year we have had a tree. Decorations have been elaborate with breakable ornaments. Often with little ones around the breakable ornaments stay in the box and the handmade kid safe ornaments are all that is on there. And one year… it was just lights.
The biggest thing about us and our Christmas trees, is we take a family photo in front of the tree every year. Sometimes it is the only family photo I have.
(I promise I’ll put one in here tomorrow. 🙂 It’s on my external drive and not this computer.)
This year I read the Facebook message from my husband encouraging me to go get the tree, despite our tradition, because he was afraid if we waited we wouldn’t be able to get one.
For the first years of our marriage we got our trees at the Fire Station and for a few years they didn’t sell them. But they brought them back last year. Despite the cost, it supports the local Fire Station and we decided that was where we wanted our tree again to be from.
I didn’t want to.
I could feel the three-year old in me saying “I don’t wanna do it without you.” pouting “It’s not the same.”
And it wasn’t.
I got home from grocery shopping, picked up my girls who had been with grandma (who decided to stay home and rest), and we all went down to pick out the tree.
The girls were excited. Sometimes I think more excited to just see the lights up close, rather than to choose the tree. But that’s okay.
I however was, and remain, a bit melancholy.
Not because of picking it out without him, …well maybe a little.
But the thoughts that came unbidden to my mind before and now after.
Picking out the tree the first year we were in our house and I was big expecting our first.
Picking out the tree the first time after we lost our baby girl years later, once again big expecting our next that she sent so soon after.
Knowing I have a dear friend whose husband is facing a health crisis, and the reality of having to make new traditions long before she ever thought she’d have to or should have to even consider.
Knowing that depending how the future goes, if my husband goes back to school to help solidify his chosen career path, I might have to do so much more without him while I support him in doing that.
Knowing that there are so many other moms out there whose husbands are overseas, like so many of our families who serve. Or who knows where but is away from home and she is trying to keep the holiday going on her own.
Yes, I put on my proverbial big girl panties and took my kids to pick out the tree.
I’m lucky and I know it. But sometimes I need reminding.
My husband will be home this weekend.
It doesn’t mean I cannot feel sad for the pictures that I don’t have of the act of us picking out the tree. I was too busy walking around the small lot, counting kids and trying to not trip while the guys patiently waited for me to stop and ask for help to see one, to take any photos.
It just means I have to remember how blessed I am.
Especially on the grey days, when I’m feeling down. Or as the alerts come as the winter eagerly threatens to snow us in.
I have been pondering my self-care and how to help my mental health as this is always a rough time of year.
But as I do, I find I’m pondering if there is a way to help another mom feeling a bit down.
Do you know anyone who could be having some rough days because of having to start or face some new traditions? What could you do?