40 years, 40 years, 40 years (maybe a tad more, but who’s really counting?), that’s how long I’ve waited to trim my perfect Christmas tree. Today I had the opportunity to hang each ornament in absolute harmony with its neighbor, to put the star topper on so it reached straight for its fellow sky buddies instead of listing to the side in a precarious fight against gravity—and the lights remained in perfect order since little hands weren’t tugging on them to hang their treasure as high as their tiptoes would allow.
There were no arguments about who got to put the “prettiest” glass globe where (somehow, they were all prettiest, and all fought over), no one cried because of the broken candy cane, and the only off-key singing came from me. Oh yes, the perfect tree.
I drank coffee instead of hot chocolate, which somehow always ended up in a sticky pile of goo on my table, with hardened whipped cream gleaming under the tree’s twinkling lights. I wasn’t up hours after little bodies had gone to bed trying to figure out how glitter found its way to the ceiling. Oh yes, just me, coffee and the perfect tree.
There were no squeals of laughter from 3 little girls as the cat ran up the tree, knocking just hung ornaments to the ground. Instead, it was just me yelling “Mason, get down”! My cat has no respect for my perfect tree.
There was no silly dancing as ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’ played on the radio; in fact, there was no dancing at all since the only music came from the memories of Christmas’ past playing in my head.
There was no countdown as the lights were turned on for the first glimpse of our lopsided, crazily decorated, tied to the wall to keep from tipping over (again) Christmas tree; and, there was no one to moan “mom stop” as I belted out “Oh Christmas Tree” to the disgusted giggles of my 3 little girls. In fact, my perfect tree was lit without ceremony, no singing, no moaning, just me and perfection.
Now here I sit, by myself, staring at my tree. There is no cuddling from sleepy arms as we admire our mashed up, needle dropping, sap covered mess of a creation. Instead, it’s just me, the lights hanging in perfect twinkly succession, the bulbs spaced just so, and the star lined up with precision, and all I can think is… my perfect tree is the loneliest thing I’ve ever gazed upon.
Dear parents, embrace the memories of a lopsided Christmas tree, enjoy the journey of a million messes, and most of all, don’t ever wish for a perfect Christmas Tree—it’s a pretty sad thing to look at.
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