Today I was finally coerced into setting up our Christmas tree.
You see, I've been dragging my feet. a lot. I just haven't wanted to bother with it at all this year, but for the kids, I did it.
So this cold Saturday afternoon, I hauled my ass out to the shed, and dug through the countless bins to find what Christmas decorations I could actually handle putting up this year. What came out with me was the HUGE tree box, and 3 bins of lights, ornaments, stockings and a few decor items. I just couldn't do anymore. I think I have another couple bins in there, but I did not want to bother putting them up this year. I decided to simplify.
We spent an entire afternoon putting up the tree and decorating. I was dreading putting up the tree. Absolutely dreading it. You see, I have NEVER put the tree up by myself. Not once. There has always been family there, or Barry when he was home to help with it.
November of 2001 was when we bought this tree. We've had it for 8 years now! I remember walking through Wal Mart with Barry when the twins were just babies, and I said to him we should get a smaller tree. But No, he INSISTED we get the biggest and tallest tree we could, just so we'd never have to buy another. So $80 later, we came home with this 7.5 foot tall, 5 feet wide at the base, monstrosity of a tree. And we still have it. And it's not pre-lit. sigh. Putting the lights on is the most challenging thing. I could have done more, but I settled for only 3 strands this year. I just couldn't do more as I despise putting on the lights.
In 2002, when E was just brand new, my sister was visiting us, and we actually all put the tree up on Christmas Eve. That was the day that Barry interviewed for his 2nd to last job at McLane Northwest, which he was hired for. We didn't get home that night till really really late, so we all pitched in and did it late Christmas eve. That was also the day that V said the "f" word for the first time, LOL. Ahhh such memories of Xmas 2002!! 2003 Barry was home, and we did it all together. 2004, I don't remember much of that, but I'm pretty sure my mom and sister were there (By then Barry was working for his "current" job, and was already over the road). 2005 we were at our first home, and my mom/sister and I did it together, same for 2006 when A was a baby. 2007 and 2008 were also subsequent years with my mom and sister, as we almost always did it Sinter Klaas weekend. Last year, 2008, my sister did most of it with me and she did a horrible, HORRIBLE, job. After her and my mom left, I actually took off ALL the decorations, all the lights, and re-fluffed the tree. Then I put everything back on, after buying more lights. I know she is reading this, and her and I had a good laugh about that tonight. She is a horrible tree fluffer, just horrible. I still love you though Mafido!
This was my very first year putting it together on my own without any help, and I was scared. Just because it was the first time doing it without anyone, and the tree is not always easy to put together. I was cursing myself because I couldn't figure out what went were, but half way through assembling it, I found the diagram that Barry drew for me last year. I breathed a sigh of relief as I found that piece of paper, and tucked it safely into an ornament box for using next year, silently thanking him for doing that.
Now our tree is up, it looks beautiful and is our usual mish-mash of balls, homemade ornaments, bought ornaments, and my extensive collection of Hallmark ornaments. It was a bit emotional putting up the tree, remembering all these ornaments I had bought over the year. Seeing the first ones I had made for this tree, ones I had made for Barry, the one he made for E when she was just a baby, and crying softly while putting some of them on. A new addition to our tree this year was one special ornament I bought for him in October after he passed. A special spot on the tree, front and center, was reserved just for this ornament:
On the back it says "The true testament of a life well-lived is the love we leave behind".
That certainly is true.
******someone asked me where I purchased this ornament. I got it at Hallmark*********