We put up our tree last week. I love the whole process- pulling out the ornaments we’ve collected over the years, the kids jumping around us, fighting over who gets to hang the decorations and where things should go.
Putting up the tree itself takes about 10 minutes. There are 3 parts that snap together, and the lights are pre-strung so that is the simple part- usually. Earlier this year our basement flooded, and when we put the tree together, we realized none of the lights worked. Michael tried everything, but there was no saving the lights. The wiring was all rotted from the inside.
Back to the basement, the hubby found a set of colored lights and did a quick wrap around to see if we liked them. Of course, LuLu and the Little Man were all in favor of colored lights! Lu said, “Mommy, those lights are WAAAAAYYYYY better than the other ones we had last year!”
The lights did have a magic to them, a little larger, and the LED light has a nice glow. Approval by all.
So, the hubby said, “What do we do? Do I just string them over top? The old lights are strung between every branch.” I smiled a smile that made my husband cringe. He knew stringing them over top was not the answer, although a quick fix.
He took the tree apart, and we each decided to work on a tier. The unstringing party began at about 9am. At first, I know he wasn’t really happy about doing it. He even offered to pick up a new tree at Home Depot. Another quick fix. We both knew that wasn’t the answer. The tree was barely 4 years old. So, branch by knotted branch, we removed every single light from the tree carefully so we didn’t pull out branches or faux pines.
The situation brought me back to when I was a little girl: we had to match color coded branches to a thick steel pole, we never had all of the branches in one spot of the attic, and putting up the tree took hours.
Lu and the Little Man began cheering us on- they couldn’t wait to get to the ornaments. The anticipation was priceless. Still, it was definitely an exercise in patience. I kept saying silently to myself “aretae”, or patience is a virtue. And, when my husband would breathe an extra-loud huff, I reminded him how beautiful it would be when we were done.
Something about stringing the bright, hopeful colored lights over top of the broken ones didn’t sit well with me. I felt like there was a message this tree was giving us. A message of authenticity, of change, of working hard, of patience, and ultimately, after almost 4 hours of taking the lights off, appreciation.
The tree decorating began at 1pm, and lasted throughout the day. When it was done, I took a step back in awe of our beautiful tree that almost made us all rip our hair out. Michael and I agreed it was so worth it.