I continued to stall, until about a week before Christmas. Grace had been staying the night at my mom’s one night and the next morning mom called me. She said that she had to tell me something that Grace had said the night before. She said that they had been sitting in the family room looking at her Christmas tree and I am not sure what prompted it, but I think they were talking about her tree and how pretty it was. Mom said that Grace looked at her and said, “But Mammaw, we don’t have a Christmas tree! We need to get one!”
Of course, when mom told me this, she thought that it was cute, but I started sobbing. It made me very sad to know that Grace was upset over there being no Christmas tree in our home. At that point… I knew what I had to do.
Now, let me ask you… do you know how hard it is to find a Christmas tree just a few days before Christmas. I knew exactly what I was looking for, but also knew that I was looking for something that I could afford without going crazy overboard.
So, the day before Christmas Eve, mom and I headed out and started my search. I had found a rather inexpensive tree, that I thought would work and then we went to Target and found the cutest shatter-proof bulbs, matching beads and even some cheap garland that would look perfect. I even went to Cracker Barrel and found ornaments specifically for Grace and Jack. You will see those in a second…
Christmas Eve got here and I had a photo shoot that morning for Doug’s Aunt and Uncle’s family, then I went to have lunch with my hubby. They day was perfect! We had a wonderful lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant and then I headed home to get the Christmas tree up and ready to decorate before Grace and Jack got home from her Grandma and Grandpa McClain’s house. They were watching them that morning while I was taking the pics and Doug said that he would just go and get them after he got off work.
Once I got home, I started cleaning up the house, which took longer than I had hoped. By the time that the kids got home, I was still trying to get the room ready for the tree. I went to my room and pulled out the small tree that I had picked out and brought it into the family room for Grace to see. When I pulled it out of the box… I wanted to cry. It was smaller than I had expected, so my idea of what it would actually look like in my head was not going to be met. When I showed it to Grace, being the honest 3 year old that she is, she looked at it, with eyes that just about broke my heart, and she said, “No mommy… we need a tree like mammaw’s! We need one like mammaw’s.”
I looked at her and tried to smile and said, “Hold on Grace, mommy will be right back.”
Immediately, I called my mom and started sobbing, of course, not where Grace could see/hear me. Mom, quickly came up with a plan. She had kept her older tree that we used for years and said that I could come and get it. It was a six foot tree, but I was only wanting a smaller tree that I could put on a stepstool in our family room and keep away from Jack. She suggested that I only put up the top half of the tree, making it about 4 1/2’ tall. I told her that I would talk to Doug and see what he would suggest.
I went into the bathroom, where Doug was in the shower, and sobbed. I mean… I cried for about 5 minutes explaining everything. He was so sweet, he agreed that going to mom’s was probably the best idea, since we didn’t have a lot of money and it was about 15 minutes before all of the stores would close for the night and would not open again until the day after Christmas.
I went back into the family room and looked at Grace and again, asked a 3 year old, “Grace, do you like our Christmas tree?”
She tilted her head to the side and said, more like she was a teenager, “Yeah… it’s ok mommy. I mean, it is kinda little, but it is nice.”
I had to laugh a little at her honest response and knowing how much she loved my mom’s big beautiful tree, I just knew what I had to do.
So, I headed out, without even saying goodbye to the kids and snuck down to my mom and dad’s. Mom and dad had gone out to their garage and dug out the old tree, put it into a Rubbermaid box and even had a pan of lasagna ready for me to take home and bake for dinner. We got it loaded into my car and before I left, she even pulled some lights off one of her bushes in case I didn’t have enough at the house(which I didn’t!). I left their, more hopeful than ever, but still nervous about Doug’s reaction.
When I got home, I quickly threw the lasagna in the oven and started to put the tree together. It was kind of tricky because the base was REALLY old and thankfully… Doug was willing to help a little. I am really thankful that his heart has softened enough to make my Christmas more special than I have had in years.
Here are a few pictures of our decorating…
As you can see, Grace was so excited. This for me made the wait well worth it.
The truck on the left is Jack’s ornament, and the snowman on the right is Grace’s.
Below-Grace and Doug were all tuckered out, as you can tell!
Here is how it looked right before I went to bed, around 2 am. I had a ton of presents to wrap that night. I will be sure to plan better next year!
So, that is the story of how I finally got my first Christmas tree. I am not really sure at this point what I want you to get out of this, but I hope that you hear a story of hope and happiness. This was a very special night for me, and one I am sure I will not forget anytime soon.