Last Christmas I was pregnant with our third child. It was hard to get the motivation to do much, but my then 3 and half year old was finally excited about Christmas and I was determined to enjoy it with her (and her 6 and a half year old sister). We went out as a family and selected a wonderful Douglas fir that met with everyone’s approval. That alone is a major accomplishment! My husband brought the tree in and it stood in the corner of the family room. After a great deal of twisting and turning, we finally agreed on which side of the tree looked best. Out came the ornaments and lights and we began the process of trimming the tree. The majority of the ornaments on this tree are either from my own childhood, special purchases for family milestones or vacations, gifts to the girls, or treasures handmade by them. I carefully took out each ornament one at a time and explained to the girls the significance of each one, its history and meaning. After about 15 minutes, they were done with the activity and I was left to finish the decorating myself. I enjoy it and love to reminisce when I come across the “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments or the one from the year we got engaged at my parents Christmas party.
Finally, the tree was done and I could sit back and enjoy my handiwork. We sat around the family room that night and ooh-ed and ah-ed over the beautiful tree.
At some point in the middle of the night, I awoke to a noise. I was pregnant at the time and wasn’t sleeping well, so I was not sure if it was the dog I heard, or if I was imagining things. My husband did not move a muscle, so I assumed I was imagining things.
I woke in the morning and began my routine to get ready for work. I fed the dog, started the coffee and began making lunches. It wasn’t until I went to turn on the morning news that my heart sank into the pit of my stomach. My husband heard my sharp inhale of surprise and came downstairs. We were both so shocked; it took a minute to process the sight before us. The tree had fallen over in the night. There were ornaments all over the floor. My dear husband picked up the tree and secured it back into place. I managed to find the missing Pointe shoe covered foot of the ballerina ornament from when Sarah and I went with her grandmother to see The Nutcracker when she was four. That one was repairable, but there were many others that were not. I struggled to fight back the tears as I picked up Sarah’s ceramic “Baby’s first Christmas” ornament that was in pieces.
We managed to get it all cleaned up before the kids woke up, thankfully. We haven’t decorated our tree yet this year, but I know I will get all choked up when there are a few less ornaments to hang this year.