Oh the holidays! They are festive, cheerful, full of sugar and a constant reminder that your person is still missing in action since cancer took him. This will be our third Christmas without Matt and there are a lot of mixed emotions this year.
Additionally, this it is the first Christmas that our three year old son, Cullen, is excited for all the festivities. The day after Thanksgiving we HAD to make a ginger bread house (which fell apart because I couldn't get it to become structurally sound to save my life). Cullen wants to see ALL the Christmas lights on the houses and insists I put them up on our house to make it “beautiful too” (which isn't going to happen because I can't pull that off by myself). And getting a Christmas tree was a must in order for Santa to have a place to put the presents, duh! Which, if I am being really honest with myself, means I need to find someone to help us. Last year I paid WAY too much money to have someone put the Christmas tree on the stand and tie it to the top of my car. However, I am sure watching all 5 feet of me trying to take a 6 foot tree off my car and drag it into my house by myself was hilarious to watch as a bystander.
So, we recruited “Unkie Beau”, my little brother. He showed up to our house after work ready to help. We made our way to the Christmas Tree lot and found our tree. Then as the man tied the tree to the top of my roof my child, dressed in a Santa hat and all, began to scream at the man: “Get off my car, you're fired, you're not coming home with us, don't take my Christmas tree!” Cullen shouted over and over again at this innocent tree lot attendant. Face palm! Now, I know that my son is currently going through this hyper protective stage where he attempts to protect me from anyone as he shares in confidence of his fears of losing me like he lost Daddy. But right now, we can not get this tree tied to my car fast enough!
My brother helps me unload the tree and gets the tree standing up in the living room. At this point we're tired, hungry and burnt out on tree shopping. Beau leaves as Cullen and I begin to decorate the tree. This has always been a special event for Matt and I over the last 11 years together. Trying to honor our traditions I put on Christmas music and skip the spiked hot coco for obvious reasons. I then assign Cullen the task of putting the hooks on the ornaments while I string the lights and ribbon onto the tree. Together Cullen and I spend over an hour decorating our tree until it is to our liking.
I then move to the bottom to try to fix the gangster lean that our tree now clearly has and the ENTIRE tree comes crashing down on TOP of me. Ornaments come flying down and break into a million pieces. I fumble to pick the tree up off me and lean it against the wall. Then I began trying to move the dog and Cullen away from the shards of glass now all over our living room floor. I pick up the glass and then try to fix the tree with no luck.
I sit down on a chair and laugh, hysterically. A Christmas tree just fell on me! This is my life, you can not make this stuff up. This all used to go a whole lot easier when Matt was here. I pick up my phone and call my brother for reinforcement. He has a “bonfire to go to” but will swing by on his way to help. Okay! He walks in, laughs and jumps into action mode again. My tree is back on the floor, he makes some adjustments to the tree stand and stands it up to it's right Christmas tree position. We are back in business for decorating! However, it is now three hours into this ordeal and it is Cullen's bedtime.
After putting Cullen to bed, I walk out to see a tree completely disheveled with lights and ribbon all over. The remaining ornaments are now lying on the floor everywhere and the room is a complete disaster. I notice a Santa now sitting at the top of the Christmas tree. Cullen must have put it on while my brother had the tree flipped upside down fixing it. All day long today he was obsessing about putting the star on the top of the tree, however, I accidentally got a tree that was too tall for the topper he picked out. He readjusted his expectations and found one that worked, his Dad's old Santa Clause from when he was a kid. I simply shook my head and laughed.
Before cancer entered our family, I spent a lot of time wanting everything to be “perfect”. I wanted my family to have this amazing experience and everything to look beautiful for all to see. After cancer, I just wanted to spend every holiday possible with my family of three. We were lucky enough to get two Christmases with Matt before he passed away. Today, I now know that there is no such thing as perfect. Though, I had a hope and an expectation for what I wanted today's experience to be like it went NOTHING as predicted. That is okay! Together we readjusted our expectations and made memories. Now I just hope that this one goes down in history as that "one Christmas that the Christmas tree fell on Mom"!