Matt and I went to cut down a tree our first year together, in our current home. We took our boxer/lab mix, Tali. It was snowy. She never stopped running, I think, to stay warm. We bundled up in hats, gloves, scarves and I was wearing my black Columbia Jacket, that I don't believe fits any longer. We searched row after row after row. Inspecting every potential tree from multiple angles. Judging them on height, color, fullness, texture. Finally finding the perfect one, and Matt cut her down, as I yelled, "TIMBER!" because I am hilarious, clever and original. I remember loving that day. I remember thinking, I want to do this every year. We took a picture in front of that tree. Together, we drug it to the road for the tractor to pick up and take to the shake station. I remember thinking that things do not get anymore perfect. Things do not get better than this I am celebrating the holidays with the person I love most in life. Pure Happiness.
The following year, we had a 2 week old baby. We bundled our little bundle in this funny little "Winnie the Pooh" full body bunting, and I strapped him into the Bjorn. We left the dog home, I wasn't ready to handle both. Again, we searched, perhaps a more abbreviated venture, but we did it just the same. And despite my feelings about last year, it was more perfect. We had Brock, our perfect as perfect can be little boy. It was better. I was celebrating the holidays with the two people I love most in life. Overflowing joy.
The next year, we had a toddling, determined 1 year old who loved the outdoors. I could fit in some of my old jeans again. Matt had become extremely proficient with the camera. The dog still stayed home. We had a blast laughing at Brock falling in the mud. Taking pictures of his adorable face. We walked through the rows of trees just observing our little boy, observing the world around him. We glanced at trees, and picked one that looked good, but our true interest was our son. At this point, he had become the center of our world. We experienced everything in a new light, with young eyes. Again, this year was even more perfect than last. It was better. I was celebrating the holidays with the two people I love most in life. Laughter and wonder.
By our 4th year of marriage, with the addition of a second child, we had become very busy. I was still in medical school as well as interviewing for residency spots. We had put off getting a tree until the weekend before Christmas, and it was a COLD one. But we were determined to cut down that tree, as we had every year prior. We put Brock in a huge green, puffer coat with mittens and a hat, Curtis being a fantastic eater from the get go, was in navy blue bunting from his uncle, as he was significantly larger than his older brother had been just 2 years earlier. We were pros. I could maneuver well enough with a baby attached to my front to also chase an agile, stubborn 2 year old. And Matt chopped that tree in 3 strokes. I didn't yell timber. But we laughed the whole time. We wondered why we had dragged our new family of four out in the freezing cold. Wondered why I risked frost bite just for a few photos. We laughed at how stupid we were for doing this. We were glad we had left the dog, she would have froze to death. But it was perfect. The day was better than I could have ever imagined. I was celebrating the holidays with the three people I love most in life. Silliness and warmth.
The fifth year, the weather could not have been more perfect. We wore vests. And hats because they are cute for photos. Despite being 13 months old, Curtis wasn't walking, so we brought a stroller. Cranky Brock should have taken a nap before the trip. We even had a 3rd child with us on this trip, warm and secure in my belly. We did not bring Tali, she had unexpectedly passed away that May, but we did have our clumsy puppy, Fannie May. We tried to get Brock to give us his input on a tree, but he was obsessing about getting some McDonald's. Curtis loved the adventure, crawled around, got pounced on and licked by the dog. We finally decided on a tree. I am not sure I glanced at the pines once. I was too engrossed in the beauty of my children. Too busy observing their smiles, their tears. Loving every moment, of every day I spend with them. Brock's attitude problem did not affect my memory of him or that day. I still remember it fondly, and believe it to be perfect. We'd had a rough year, but had nothing but great things to look forward to, and it was still better than the last. I was celebrating the holidays with the three and a half people I love most in life. Surprising resilience.
Today, the weather was more perfect. We didn't even wear sweatshirts,
just a long sleeve shirt. And the hats were fun, like a fedora, froggy
and engineers cap. Our latest addition cannot walk, so we just brought
the wagon. Our oldest did help to choose a tree. Our middle just ran
around, mimicking his older brother. Our baby explored, touching new
things. We looked through trees. We watched tractors drive by. We
took lots of photos. We wrestled. We jumped. We ran. We brought no
dog, as Fannie had passed away just a month or so ago, and Tater doesn't
enjoy these sorts of things. We found a tree, that is kind of leaning
to one side in our living room right now. And though it is far from
perfect, our day was. It was the best day ever, just like every day is
that I get to spend with the four people I love most in life. We functioned as a happy, joyful, silly, resilient family filled with wonder, laughter, warmth and love.