What you see is the "after" shot of our Christmas tree. Let me tell you about "before". Before goes like this. The children and I go out to where Big Brothers/Big Sisters are selling their Christmas trees. This is their big fundraiser so we thought we'd go out and see if we could find a tree. We were really just looking, but then we saw one and the size seemed just right. The color was more green than the others, and, oh, what a shape! "We'll take that one!" I told the tree guy, and we were the proud owners of a Christmas tree! How exciting!

Once home, the kids immediately wanted to decorate it. I pulled the sand bucket in that we had used last year and stuck the tree down in it. We shifted it a bit, this way and that, and there it was-pretty much vertical. I tested and hung the lights and the decorating commenced. It was gorgeous.

Then here comes another member of the family (not going to mention any names) who says, "Why did you use the bucket? We bought a tree stand last year because the bucket wasn't enough to stabilize the tree. Don't you remember?"

No. Not really. Well, maybe it's coming back to me now. We were at the hardware store. I'm looking at the tree stands. The kids are playing with the inflated Christmas decorations set up so festively in the middle of the store, and my daughter throws up....Yeah. I do remember that though I wish I didn't.

The stand is found.

Have I told you the tree was already decorated complete with lights?

Okay, so we're getting pretty close to the "after" picture.

In between the "before" and "after" here are some moments worth mentioning:

Unnamed person: Didn't you look at the trunk of the tree when you were buying?
Me: (thinking) How absurd! What do I care what the trunk looks like?
5-year-old: Don't break the decorations!
7-year-old: (laughing) Look! Tiger Lily's climbing the tree!
Unnamed person: Look down there. See how the tree needs to be in the center of the stand?
Me: I can't see! There are branches in my face! Would someone get the cat out of the tree?


My writers' critique group is supposed to arrive in five minutes. I look at the tree which is most definitely NOT trimmed with happy decorations and is leaning at about a 60 degree angle. I consider how the tree is a metaphor for my life. It thought it had it made when it moved off the lot and into a happy home for Christmas. It thought that when the lights were lit and the decorations were on, it would be sitting pretty and fulfilling its life goals.

And then someone mentions a forgotten tree stand.

I'm not TOO concerned. The people coming over in less than five minutes are wonderful. They love me, and they really don't care that Christmas decorations are thrown hither and yon and that my tree is doing an awesome imitation of the tower in Pisa. They'll come in, and they'll understand how sometimes life is just messy. Like my foyer.

Fonda is the first to arrive. I tell her that the leaning tree is a metaphor for my life right now. She laughs. She gets it.