Although neither Rebecca or I felt like it, for the girls sake, we tried to
begin moving the house into Christmas mode last weekend. Picking out the tree
seemed like a good place to start. I took Kira and Lauren out to select a
tree, and right off, they chose one. It "looked" straight and full, but it
seemed heavier than I was expecting. Having had alot of freezing rain over the
previous week, I just assumed that its branches underneath were still covered
(or that it had just been a year, and I had forgotten how heavy they could be).
I had a bit of the stump freshly cut off, made sure it was level, and away
home we went.
Once we tried to up it in the tree stand, the "fun" really began. After
tightening it in place, the moment of truth came...and it failed miserablly.
It immediately fell over with a thud. In the past this has happened, so we
tied a few strings from the tree to some plant holders on the ceiling for extra
support. They snapped. After several attempts, we figured it was properly
secured, and this seemed to be the case. As the tree warmed up, alot of
melting snow and ice created quite a puddle on the floor. While annoying, I
again figured that had been the problem with the tree.
The next day, the tree smell filled the house (which was nice), and more
importantly, and tree was standing in place (even better). Despite the
problems of the previous day, we decided that it was still a keeper. If
Charlie Brown could make do with his infamous little tree, we could certainly
get by with this one. It was alot quieter decorating without Darrel's help,
and his adding in his opinions on the progress being made. Extra care was
taken to hang the decorations he had made during his stays in the hospital. In
addition, we had received a few special ornaments from family and friends in
Darrel's memory. It looked Picture Perfect (minus the support strings of
course). Just as I finished putting away the decoration boxes in the basement,
a huge crash was heard from upstairs. Not only had the tree toppled, but water
from the base stand was all over the floor, and several of the glass ornamnets
were completely smashed.
It was very disheartening for all of us. This Christmas was already going
to be hard enough to cope with this year, without something like this
happening. There was quite the mess to clean up, and soon afterwards, the
****'** tree was out the door. It turned out the trunk had a substantial curve
in it, that made the thing forever lop-sided. Because of the full branches,
there had been no way to notice this just by looking at it. While part of me
just wanted to forget about a tree for this year, it didn't seem right to
deprive the girls of a proper family Christmas.
A couple of days later, I went over to the local nursery (Darrel would not
have believed I would go to such a place on my own, but the situation dictated
it), picked out an even better "looking" tree, and the process would soon begin
again. In addition, Rebecca went out and purchased new decorations for us to
use. This time there were no problems, or strings attached to the tree. This
time, it WAS Picture Perfect!
In all ways, this will be a different Christmas at the Robb house. With
Darrel's death, there will be no Transformers or Power Rangers to wrap, and
alot more space under the tree. Christmas morning will most certainly lack the
excitement of a 7 year old boy tearing through gifts looking for anything with
a "D" on it (often opening up some of mine addressed to Daddy). The tree
itself has a completely new look and feel to it as well.
In some ways, this is probably a good and healthy thing, but in others, I'd
rather if we hadn't changed things too much from when Darrel was still with us.
Moving on is necessary, but breaking with the past is not something that has
ever come easy for me. This Christmas will be more about loss than joy, but
this is to be expected. The girls will need this holiday probably more than
anyone else in the family ever has. They have handled everything thus far
amazingly well, and I want to do everything I can to keep it that way.