This is our first year with a full-sized tree since Elizabeth was born and it has been impossible to keep her from pulling ornaments off the tree. Tonight she succeeded in that top-shelf fear of mine: she pulled the Christmas tree down. Thankfully, it did not land on top of her. I heard it fall, heard the clatter of ornaments on the floor, and hurried to the doorway between the kitchen and living room to see her across the room leaning against the couch and the tree facedown on the floor. I admit, I covered my hand with my mouth and struggled not to cry as I saw my tree sprawled on the floor, ornaments tumbled hither thither and yon around the living room.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t yell. I inhaled, counted to three, and exhaled as I entered the living room, asking firstly if she was OK and she said yes. I then set about righting the tree while she gathered the fallen ornaments into a little pile. I silently thanked God that I had had the means to buy a brand new set of shatterproof ornaments along with this tree. I was not also going to be vacuuming glass up out of the carpet for the next hour and then fretting for days to come that there would still be shards hidden, just waiting to embed themselves in our feet. So there was that in my favor. I slowly and as calmly as I could straightened out the bent branches and replaced the ornaments on the tree, though there was a small struggle with Bizzy over the last one, which she adamantly didn’t want to relinquish. I still think the tree looks a bit at sixes and sevens and I will most likely have my mother give it a once over and fix when she gets here.
But I am glad that I took that three-second pause. I wanted love to be my first response as often as possible and it most definitely was not my first response for most of today. Today was a rough day. We have all been sick for the better part of a week, Elizabeth since Thanksgiving night. So we are tired and worn and she and I got in each other’s way a lot today. Tomorrow, though, I will forgive myself and have the new beginning that tomorrow is.