Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The OCD Tree

As I was putting up our Christmas tree this past weekend, I was thinking about how much my BFF, Naive, sucks.

You see, she's the awesomest memory maker I know. Every year she and her husband bundle up the kids, go traipsing through the gorgeous snowy countryside, and select the most excellent specimen for their Christmas tree that God's own hand has designed. She takes gorgeous, Currier-and-Ives-feeling photos of them all, hiking through the snow with bright smiles and pink, chill-nipped noses - hunting and posing with their glorious find, and hauling it back home through the snow. It's incredibly Norman Rockwell.

I, on the other hand, haul an old fake tree out of the basement, assemble it together with metallic scrapes and squeaks, spend hours trying to reshape the synthetic branches back into something that doesn't look like it's been in a box for 11 months, and ultimately spray it with Febreze to try and diminish the faint basement scent.

Personally, I think we have made and will continue to make great holiday memories - and to be honest, our tree really is a very nice, very realistic looking one. But compared to Naive, and especially since I always grew up with real trees - I feel a little stale about it. And the best part is, she's always doing crap like this. She's an awesome mom and a brilliant tradition upholder and memory maker.

In conclusion - she sucks, and so do I.

But I digress ...

The point I was originally going to get to, is that I have always been extrememly obsessive-compulsive about my tree. I blame my mother - she trained me to balance the spacing of the ornaments, evenly sprinkle the conversation pieces and the glass globes, place ornaments inside as well as on the outside of the branches in order to disguise irregularities and gaps in the tree branches, not put the same color or type ornament next to each other, and most importantly, NEVER glob up the icicles into bunches. I realize I can be highly annoying - er - persnickety about this ... but I can't help myself. I've tried to lighten up, but truth be known, Hub stopped helping me decorate years ago for this very reason.

The past few years, Incrediboy has been very into helping me decorate the tree. This causes me much internal stress (mainly because so many ornaments are breakable, but mostly because of my OCD problem explained above). But I certainly want him to begin building loving and fun Christmas tradition memories just as I did when I was little. So he's helped me the past few years, and I've later (sometimes only seconds later) gone back to micromanage the arrangements properly distribute the ornaments.

After coming to emotional grips with the untimely death of my favorite green glass frog ornament all over the hardwood floor this year - Incrediboy and I (and even the Hub) ended up having a great time decorating the tree together. Hub, understanding me more than anyone, whispered to me as Incrediboy busied himself, "You can rearrange the ornaments however you want later". He gave me a knowing smile.

When the tree was done, the boys wandered off to watch football and play with Lincoln Logs as I sat down on the couch and surveyed the tree. The top of the tree was evenly spaced and visually well-distributed. The bottom, however, was a little off. Sections as big as my head were bare, while others were piled up with several ornaments all together. One branch in particular, right in the front, had a large Daffy Duck, two glass globes, a cracker barrel store, a giraffe, and a backwards fox family, all clumped together. Two bare branches over was another, weighed down with a Santa-shaped bell, three more glass globes, a Lightning McQueen, a rabbit in a fur hat and a toy soldier.

My eye twitched rapidly as I stared at them.

Then something came over me.

This isn't the way I decorate trees, with big clusters of decorations all bunched onto one branch. But this, this is the way my little boy decorates. My little boy, who not long ago was a little toddler, and not long before that, a tiny baby. And not long from now will be much bigger, and perhaps much less apt to want to decorate with me.

I suddenly loved the traffic jams of ornaments sprinkled around our tree. I suddenly wouldn't change a thing.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

What's more unsettling than your angst over an unevenly distributed ornament pattern, is your lack of concern over a DAFFY DUCK ornament on your tree. LOL, Just kidding.

Thanks for the snaps in the first part of your post. What appears to be a picturesque tree hunt only seems so because you don't get to see the thermos full of hot cocoa dumped on laps and car seats, or the frozen snot on the jackets of little boys. :)

You're making wonderful memories, because they're your memories.