I became today the owner of a Christmas tree for only the second time in my adult life. At the risk of losing friends and readers, hello you intrepid 11, I dislike Christmas trees. $50 for a dying bit of vegetation that sits in my living room dropping bits of outdoors inside. I have to feed it. Water it. Give it attention and lavish it with beautiful things. And then, after becoming a part of the "family" for three weeks, I have to throw it away. Well, I have to drag it outside where it stares at me from the back yard, stripped of it's finery and looking progressively sadder, sicker, and deader, waiting to be hauled off to the dump by my spouse on his next day off, sometimes weeks away. Humbug. I'd have preferred to let the thing keep growing happily in nature doing natural things.
That having been said, it's a nice tree. It makes my husband happy; I've caught him lost in thought and smiling at it more than once already tonight. It causes my son, inexplicably, to grasp his crotch and blow at it from across the room as if it was on fire and come to steal his pants. But, I confess that I teared up a little as I took from our small box of ornaments the plaster cast I made last December of his little hand. Was it really so tiny? And the photograph a mommy friend, due soon with her second, took of me holding Bar in the air and gazing at him with such rapt joy that I almost don't recognize myself. And yet, there I am and seeing that happiness from the outside reminds me how much becoming a mother has changed me for the better. So, Tree (and mommy friend), thank you for that. And there are three one dollar bills, held together by a diaper pin waiting for their turn to adorn the tree again this year. My now sister, married to my brother-in-law a few weeks ago, pinned them to my tree last year in a dramatic flourish after listening to me ramble on about how much I hated Christmas trees. "There," she proclaimed, "now it's a Mitzvah tree." And, so it is. Those slightly less than crisp bills reminding me that kindness is never misplaced and that family, far-flung, alternative, blended, or otherwise, is a blessing.
Though I still think that a tabletop tree, fake, pre-lit and pre-decorated would leave plenty of room for these cherished mementos and not lessen their specialness, I am content, I suppose, to lose this battle in my household and welcome my coniferous guest again this year. It's a nice tree.