Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another Tree of Christmas Past

This is the tree from the first Christmas we celebrated after purchasing our first home. We were both out of college and working full time by then, and children were still a year or two in the future. I remember coming home from work every evening and plopping down on the couch to watch TV until Greg got home, when we would debate which restaurant we wanted to eat at, and whether or not we wanted to see a movie afterwards.

I really thought my life was stressful back then. I had such a strong desire to fill one of the empty bedrooms in that home with nursery furniture. I fantasized that if I could just have a baby, then I could quit my job at the children's psychiatric home and be a stay-at-home mom, and my life would be so much better.

That year, we drove out to a Christmas tree farm, picked up a hand saw, and wandered through the acres until we found just the right one. Then my lumberjack hubby felled the tree and dragged it what seemed like two miles back to the car.

We got it home, wrestled it into the tree holder, and spent hours perfecting the location of each and every ornament. This was before the days of popsicle stick crafts from Sunday School, before the days of putting the breakable ornaments up high so little hands wouldn't grab them. After meticulously measuring the exact symmetry of each decoration, I placed a giant stash of previously wrapped presents under the tree, one of which happened to be a box of Whitman's chocolates I had bought for a coworker.

See that sweet-faced little dog in the photo? Back in those days she was a pampered pooch, and was used to royal treatment like baths and grooming and pretty little bows. (Now she's scraggly, stinky, and forgotten, I'm afraid). Perhaps she had a premonition of her future mistreatment, because while I was at work the next day, she sniffed out that box of chocolates and chowed down on it, and in the process knocked down the entire tree.

When I opened the front door that evening after work, I was greeted by the tip top of the tree right in my face. I wrestled my way in the door and attempted in vain to return the tree to its former glory.

I learned a lot of lessons that day, not the least of which was how to induce vomiting in a dog. I wouldn't have thought so at the time, but looking back now I think of the days in that house as happy ones, maybe tinged with a little sadness and longing for what I didn't have. The years we spent there were the last years we would have before children, the last days of freedom before the real work began. Had I known then the three little blessings that God would pour out on us, one after another, I could have spent less time worrying and hoping, and more time just enjoying the gifts I had already been given.


  1. My childhood dog was always getting into chocolates. Amazingly, she never got sick. And she lived to be...15, if I remember right...

    Love the tree. Sometimes I wish I could have a real one (allergies).

  2. "I learned a lot of lessons that day, not the least of which was how to induce vomiting in a dog."


    and yes, about the blessings. yes.

  3. I could see it coming. As soon as you said "see that little sweet faced dog" I knew there was a disaster somewhere soon in the story!


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