Monday, December 7, 2015

The Christmas Tree

Putting up the tree was always a big deal when I was a kid. During my earliest years, we always went and bought a freshly cut tree. It was awesome to smell the tree throughout the house.

I was probably twelve-ish when we got our first artificial tree. Putting it up was similar to putting up the real tree. My mom put on the lights and then let me and my brother have at it with the ornaments.

Back when I thought I’d marry young and have kids a few years later, I thought we’d put up our first tree and then put one ornament on it, the first one we bought together as a married couple.

Yeah, that didn’t quite work out the way I’d planned.

Instead, I didn’t marry until my early thirties. By then, I had quite the collection of Christmas ornaments and so for my and Tom’s first Christmas together, we just put up a tree, slapped the ornaments we had on it and called it good.

When Alyssa was big enough to help, I let her put the ornaments where she would and left them there, so those first few years, we had a very bottom-heavy tree. I loved it because it was ours and I wanted Alyssa to know that whatever she put on the tree stayed where she put it.

This year Olivia and her OCD are driving Alyssa and her own version of OCD crazy. It’s actually pretty fun to watch.

Olivia decided yesterday that she wanted to clump the golden bulbs together on a few branches near the bottom of the tree. She likes being able to look at her reflection in the bulbs.

I honestly didn’t care because again, the tree if for the girls. I’m not all that particular about what goes where. I’m really just glad I’m not doing it all myself.

Alyssa fussed that since Olivia is tall enough, she should be putting the ornaments on the tree higher up and spacing them out.

I gently told her to leave her sister alone, reminding her of trees of Christmas past, when she put them on the low third of the tree and I left them there. I told her about the tree we had the year Olivia was born, when I was too overwhelmed to get many ornaments out so Alyssa used her own toys to as decorations. We had stuffed cats and horses, puzzle pieces, princesses and blocks on that tree. It broke my heart even as it warmed it.

Alyssa rolled her eyes as I told these stories but she also stopped telling Olivia to move the golden bulbs to other places on the tree.

I will let these girls decorate our tree however they want for as long as they’ll do it.

Honestly, I think I’m lucky that my youngest child, who is NINE, still wants to bunch the bulbs up. I love that in so many ways she’s still very much my baby.

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