Monday, December 10, 2007

O Christmas Tree

As the years go by, I find myself taking on more and more of the workload at home.

Over the weekend I decided to shovel a path from our driveway to the back of the house where the oil tank outlet (connection? pipe?) was, so that when the "oil delivery man" delivered our home heating oil, he wouldn't be stomping through drifts of snow, cursing us as he went.

I looked in the garage where we usually keep the snow shovel. Staring back at me was our garden rake. Rake? Nobody's used that since sometime in November.

Usually my husband quietly goes about his chores; putting away the gardening tools, and bringing out the winter ones. Knowing when it's time to winterize the car, clean the windows or gutters. Just like I would effortlessly serve a roast or a stew at dinner. You don't see all the work and preparation that goes beforehand. But dinner is served, clothes are washed, seasons change and so do the tools.

I've relied on Hubby for so long to do those little things, but now I have to face the fact that he can't anymore. So I dutifully stomped through the snow to the toolshed, forced open the door against the snowdrift and found the shovel crammed in towards the back. Nuts! I'd meant to bring the rake with me, but had left it back in the garage - oh well, it can just stay there for the winter.

On to the buying of our Christmas tree . I didn't have far to go - just to our friendly neighbourhood grocery store parking lot. Much easier to drive home with a tree stuffed in the trunk if you don't have far to go.

I bought a small one so I could easily manoeuver it. Hubby was eagerly waiting for me as I parked in the garage, opened the trunk, untied the tree and finally hauled it into the house.

The stand was ready and waiting for us in a cozy corner of the living room. I picked up the tree and plunged it into the stand. Hubby helped to support the tree while I jiggled it about trying to center it in the stand. Then I let go to turn those long screw-things into the base of the tree.

Hubby couldn't hold up the tree on his own.
I grabbed the tree and saved it from toppling.

Hubby was upset.
I was shocked.

This was a small Christmas tree - not like the big ones we used to buy when all the kids and grand-kids came over to celebrate.
It was not a heavy tree and yet hubby could not hold it up.

We finished our task and then took a "time-out". I put on a pot of coffee and lit a yummy-smelling apple-cinnamon candle (even though the room was bright with morning sun); slid a soothing CD into the player. We sat together on the couch, talking about the coming season, our plans for next year and made predictions as to who was going to be the first to give us another grand-child.

Eventually Hubby's saddness evaporated and we went on with our day.

It's so easy to be lulled into feeling like everything is fine, normal, o.k., but when something unexpected happens, reality sinks in and back we go to the bottom of the well.
The trick is to pull ourselves back up again. And after a while we did.


Pete said...

It's striking, isn't it, how Christmas can intensify emotion. In another context, you might well have known that your husband wouldn't be able to do physically what holding that Christmas tree required.

But at the emotional level, Christmas is always every Christmas you've ever known. It can seem as if anything anyone ever did at Christmas should be possible again.

Thank you for sharing this touching little story.


Wendy said...

Thanks for your insightful comment. We do tend to think Christmas is like every Christmas, and that can extend to changing of seasons too.
Every spring we plant our garden together. This spring I plant alone. Every summer we drive to the beach - not anymore.
And on and on it goes. It really makes us aware of "living in the moment", and teaches us to treasure them.

JOY said...

What a balancing act it is!! At this point I'm trying to recreate the everything is as it always was at Christmas ( which it's not, since my mind's on overload, selling the house trying to find somewhere practically wheelchair accessible, since I know that's not far off & making ALL the candles myself!) Candlemaking is something Hubby's done every Christmas, this year he didn''t do anything! So, I did. I'm proud of myself, they really turned out great! Being his assistant all this time paid off & now there's 2 dozen beautiful candles for family & friends to choose from.

Wendy said...

Hey Joy,
Don't run yourself ragged! I can't imagine selling my house and looking for another one at this time of year. Yikes!
That being said - my daughter did the same thing last Christmas when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. I told her to wait until after the baby was born - what's the rush??
Well, since when do grown children listen to their mothers anymore???
Candle-making sounds like magic! What beautiful and special gifts you have to give to your family and friends - make with love and your very own hands.
Have a wonderful Christmas.