Our Christmas tree is, like, six and a half feet tall. Perhaps, to some of you, that doesn't seem so big, but when you look at it in the context of our teeny-tiny cottage, it's enormous. If I want to be able to access my back door, or the computer desk in the corner of our living room, I have to set it up so the back half is squashed into the corner, the branches bent upwards as if they never came out of the box. I can only decorate half.

And they're such adult decorations, too. The baubles and floral arrangements are insanely fragile and almost painfully refined. No bold primary colours here; no cheesy but unbreakable Rudolf figurines. Instead, we have delicate bouquets of golden leaves, glimmering, rust-coloured berries and little tiny harps. None of it is right for our house, or our lifestyle. None of it makes sense at all - except to us.

On the twenty-second of December, 2006, I wrote about our family's hierarchy of trees - the biggest at our Grandparents' place, where we all gathered to exchange gifts on Christmas morning, my parents' slightly smaller version, and our own, little desktop tree - just big enough for two. I wrote about how, over the years of our marriage, I had looked forward to upsizing our tree as we built our branch of the family, and about how, that year, I took it upon myself to re-evaluate our status in the scheme of things, to sit down with infertility and renegotiate what it could and could not have, and to, basically, buy a fucking big tree with a whole stack of very adult-looking decorations. Which is no longer right for our lifestyle.

But I put it up anyway, because it means something to me, this tree. It means something to me when The Prata Baby - bless his little heart - unpicks the very delicate, very refined bouquets in the earnest misunderstanding that the individual pieces are supposed to be separately distributed amongst the other decorations, or when he brushes against the very delicate baubles in his rambunctious charging around the house. It means something to see the playgroup craft activities taking over the branches, one by one, cutting an as-yet small, but nevertheless unforgiving line through the tasteful cohesiveness of the display. It even means something when I lift a broken decoration out of storage and wistfully place its pieces in the bin. Life is changing, and evolving; the past is gradually being chipped away. But I can still see the imprint of our history. And I can still taste how it felt to draw that line in the sand to say gosh, infertility, I can't stop you taking this or that. But these things here - they're mine. They're mine and you're not having them.

Merry Christmas to all, and special greetings to those still waiting for life to smile on them.


9 Comments

Jess said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you too! :D

Vee said...

I love this post. Merry Christmas to you all xx

Ellen K. said...

What a lovely post. I didn't have the nerve to put up a tree (3rd year in a row) but now wish I had. Merry Christmas, Bea!

Lut C. said...

We had no tree or decorations to speak of before we had Linnea.
She adored the tree I put up last year.
This year, she flung herself on the box of decorations and a earnestly started hanging things in the tree.
She kindly allowed me to lend her a hand.

Cibele said...

Lovely Post. I hope you had a great Christmas. I put up my huge tree, from a life time ago when I had a big place.Lyla loved it, it is her tree now and this is what matters. Thanks for your continuous support. You are always so encouraging

Rachel Inbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel Inbar said...

Merry Christmas to you! I love things with meaning.

Mamá Gringa said...

Happy holidays to you too. Long time since I visited your blog but I am back for good. :)

Living at the in-laws means that we have no Christmas tree that we can call ours. However, we do have one beautiful ornament that we bought during our travels in Ireland. The only sad thing is that we didn't even hang it in our room.

DaisyGal said...

wow, that was a beautiful post Bea. Hope that your holidays were MERRY & BRIGHT my friend.

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