Y’all. I’m struggling. Well. Not currently. It’s the first day of my winter break. But yesterday. Straight struggling. And I can blame it on a lot of things. Marge’s hand surgery last month. One that required 24-hour care that littlest sister and I shared. For over a week. Or post-Thanksgiving shopping which lasted a good three days. Or a work conference the week after. Which meant a two-day work week. Two weeks in a row. Must be nice, you say. Um, no. This is not a exactly a good thing in my new position at work. Not one bit. I could blame it on birthday parties. Christmas parties. Overspending. Wrapping presents. UPS’s inability to deliver a package on time. Or my lack of sleep lately. But I won’t. The sad truth. My struggle. What’s really eating me alive. The Christmas tree, y’all. I can’t. Just cannot. The tree is my issue. There are lights on it. And they are not white. They are multi-colored.
If you have been in my house. My garage. Or even the trunk of my car. You totally get the validity of this internal battle I’m having. I like clean lines. Organization. And I prefer modest tones. Whites. Grays. Blues. Except the idea of an all black wardrobe. Let’s be honest. That’s sexy as hell. In a my closet is so damn organized and perfect kind of way. But I do not have an all black wardrobe. So I organize my closet in the most logical manner. First by type of shirt. Dress. Or pant. Then by color of course. Yes. I am that girl. I like to create space. Peaceful. Aesthetically pleasing. Comfortable space. In every room of my home. Except my girl’s. A place that is delightfully charming. And girly. And fun. But it is not. And cannot. Stay organized. So I waved the white flag of surrender on that one. And try my best to harness my anxiety while I’m in there. But in the rest of the house. I’ve created plenty of space that quite frankly, allows me to breathe.
This tree however. It does not allow me to breathe. For starters, it is two feet tall. And it’s taken the place of my beloved record player that sits atop my vintage school cart that I love so dearly. On the tree hang two strings of lights. Did I mention they’re multi-colored? LED at that. Nary an ornament in sight. All of this began two months ago. When Jesus. Whom I adore. Hacked into my Facebook. And posted a comment of interest on a photo of the most adorable kitten up for rescue. I promise it was Him. I do not like cats. Yet somehow. Just days later. I found myself in the lobby of an animal clinic with Marge. On the edge of our seats. Waiting to bring Caroline home. And so. You now understand why one of my favorite evening pastimes. The record player. Has been sabotaged by a small. Ugly. Ornament-less. Christmas tree. If you can even call it that.
Poor Caroline. It sounds as if I’m blaming it on her. I’m not. It’s my daughter’s fault. She’s the one who somehow cajoled me into replacing our deceased pup with a kitten. And you see. I’d do just about anything to bring joy to my girl’s heart. And Jesus knew that. Which is why He stole my credentials that day. And it’s why I’m now madly in love with a cat. Sweet Caroline. It’s also why my rustic. Glass-ornamented. Charming. White-lit Christmas tree. Is sitting on the highest shelf in my garage. Just above the empty box of the demure tree that belongs in my daughter’s bedroom. I must have searched ten minutes for my boxes of white lights. Brought my girl into the garage to support me in the hunt. Only to realize. I do not own any boxes of white lights. For they are stuck on the branches of my Martha Stewart pre-lit faux fir. The one up high on the shelf. “You can use my colored ones, mama,” she said. Alas. This year’s Christmas tree.
And while I wish I could say I’ve come to like the tree. Enjoy it even. I have not. It’s actually gotten worse. Most branches are now entirely misaligned. The lights no longer spread evenly through thanks to Caroline’s affinity to nestling herself inside. The brown paper-wrapped packages. Neatly arranged. And adorned with glittery gold ribbons. They look strange sitting next to a rusty school cart. And a stack of old records. They belong under a proper Christmas tree. My Christmas tree. But yet. There they sit. Awaiting the joy. And magic. That is to come Christmas morning. So while I still cringe at the sight of our pathetic tree. And grapple to breathe when I look in its direction. I have come to accept that in a year full of challenges. Tears. Fear. Loss. And struggle. This tree represents hard work. Triumph. Accomplishment. Newness. And pride. For I am still standing. Taller. Stronger. And more aligned (literally) than our puny tree. And anyways. Christmas isn’t about trees. It’s about love. Magic. Family. And Jesus. He’s the the true reason behind the season. He’s the reason we have such an unappealing tree this year. And He’s the reason I’m still holding strong.
Happy Christmas, y’all. May this holiday bring you all the wonder. Love. And joy you deserve. See you on the Target clearance aisle in a of couple days. I’ll be the one buying up all the white lights this year.