In December of 1999, I was getting ready to move into my new home. We moved the week of Christmas. Needless to say I wasn’t about to decorate a house for the holidays when I was in the middle of packing it up! In fact all of my holiday decorations were in a storage unit so that the basement wasn’t so full as I was trying to sell.
While the practical me knew that was the only sensible thing to do, the sentimental me was sad. It was my son’s senior year of high school and the last year he would be living with me full time. Part of me was heart-broken, but it was the only option.
Early in December Travis came home from wrestling practice one day and walked in asking me, “What’s all that crap all over the sidewalk?” My response was a confused, “What crap?” He instructed me to go and look for myself. There in the middle of the short sidewalk leading up to our front door was a little Christmas tree. Next to it sat a box of Santa ornaments his grandmother had given me along with my very favorite ornament – the “baby’s first Christmas” ornament I had cherished since he was three months old.
My big, tough wrestler had gone out and bought the little tree for me so that I would have a Christmas tree. He went to the storage unit and dug around until he found the one ornament that would make me happier than any other. And he brought a few others he knew were some of my favorites. He knew his mother’s heart and what would make that heart swell. I had never received a better Christmas present and I still haven’t.
That little tree has had a place here in my home every Christmas since. I’m sure people walk in and wonder about the little tree that held the Santa collection every year. I’ve told the story of that tree many, many times because it is so special to me.
This will be the first year since 1999 that it isn’t here. The tree is still fine, and I still love it. But for this year the little tree is traveling. My Chapin needed a small tree for his college apartment. I took over three that I have and he chose the one that is a little taller and skinny as the one that fit the space best. There was a very tiny one that is going into his girlfriend’s dorm in another state. And as we were walking out to the car and I was carrying my special little tree back home, I was told how my sweet girl Alyanna had asked for a tree for her room the day before (that was pricey). I looked over at her and handed her my little tree.
She’s going to let my special gift live in her room until after the holidays and then it will make its way back home. There was a bittersweet feeling to watch it leave with her, but she seemed happy to have it. A little while ago I was sent the pictures below that showed me just how happy she was. I think my little tree is going to be well-cared for and have a special Christmas this year. And it’s nice to know that someone else loves my little tree.