Everything was looking perfect. I had worn my boots and wool coat. My salted caramel hot chocolate was nestled in my frigid hands. I had cleaned my glasses until they came to a nerdy sparkle...
(I tend to put a lot of pressure on the selecting of the Christmas tree)
I was sort of floating in Starbucks as they made my hot chocolate. "Isn't life Grand?" I said to myself. Suddenly I grabbed the ornament from the plastic display and ran over to Brad like a 10 year old.
"Can we get this?!" I began to pant like I was out of breath. I pushed up my glasses for dramatic effect.
"Sure" he said, clearly wanting a normal wife.
On the short drive from Starbucks to Home Depot I had already devised a photo plan that would ever so quaintly document our Christmas Tree buying experience. Pictures that would show the Internet how stylish and clever we are without even trying! One with Brad looking especially Beard-y while carrying the tree. One with me looking especially whimsical and dreamy while watching Beard-y carry the tree. And then maybe a goofy picture where I only pretend to look goofy, instead looking HOT.
We parked. I made the crucial decision to leave my hot chocolate in the car as to not distract from the photo plan.
I was giddy and merry. I ran up to meet Brad who was clearly on a mission to just get this done already. I put my arm through his and gave it a little squeeze. "We're getting our tree!" I whispered.
We turned the corner and entered the lot which I quickly remembered was simply the nearest Home Depot's parking lot. I put my hands deep into my coat pockets, shrugging my shoulders to try and stay warm. I smelled the pine air and took a deep breath of it in. We headed straight for the douglas firs.
"There's this one" Brad said.
We both tilted our heads to the right.
"No" we said together.
"Ooo what about this one!?" I asked.
"Ya that one could work."
"Hmm, maybe." I suddenly doubted.
This went on for twenty minutes. And, for lack of a better term, I just wasn't feelin it. The trees were mediocre. One was as tall as it was round. Another was missing it's back. Another had completely dried out. They all just seemed, flawed.
I started to get really sad. I had to be honest with myself, I had put way to many expectations on this thing.
"What if we get one of these?" Brad lifted up the skinny tree bound by twine and plastic, hiding it's form.
I was nervous. But I was exhausted. Such high expectations with the addition of sugar will do that.
I took a deep breath. "Ya, let's get that one" I nodded. I remember doing a little I surrender thing with my hands.
As I closed the car door it was very sobering. We wouldn't do that for another year and just like that it was over. I felt disappointed. I had ruined it for myself.
By the time we got home Brad Thayer had already cheered me up because he's good at that.
I was back to floating, this time around our living room, clearing a path while my Beard-y carried in our tree. We worked together to get the tree in the stand and he began to cut the binding. Too nervous to look I made myself busy by turning on the music and reheating our hot chocolates.
"Care, come look!" This was the most excited he had been all night.
When I finally saw our tree, it was imperfect. It was in my home, with my husband, and the imperfect tree looked just perfect. We named it Earl.
If I had seen Earl at Home Depot I would have found ways to criticize his shape or his branches or the way he fancies leaning to the right. It wasn't until I let go and embraced whatever he might be, that I could truly enjoy him. And myself for that matter.
I'm sure there's something to be learned from this.