It may look like a “perfect” tree, but it almost didn’t get decorated. It was bare for nearly three weeks and seemed likely to make it to Christmas with only a few lights on its branches.
I bought this tree from Costco in mid-November. I always wanted a really tall Christmas tree and since we finished renovating our house last year, I finally had a place to put one. I usually don’t put up any decorations before Thanksgiving but the box with the new tree was just sitting there and I couldn’t resist. So up it went the Monday BEFORE Thanksgiving! The great thing about this tree is that it’s prelit – alternating between white and colored lights. I’m usually not a colored light girl but I have to admit I’m loving the color! Once the tree was up, though, I never quite got around to decorating it. I’ve been trying to relax with Christmas prep this year, so I was feeling okay about this and was even thinking about leaving it with just the lights.
So the pre-lit tree stayed that way until last week, when my youngest daughter went through a medical procedure. She’s tongue-tied and needed to have her frenulum (that little bit of connective tissue under the tongue) cut. It’s been something I’ve been researching for the last 2 years. Apparently, this is a very common procedure. The first doctor we saw advised that the procedure be done over a year ago, but the operation he recommended required general anaesthesia. I was not comfortable with that. So I got opinions from many other doctors, allergenists, ENTs, and oral surgeons to make sure the surgery was really necessary and see if there were any alternatives. I learned that laser surgery, which does not require a general anaesthetic, is an option for moderate tongue ties. I hoped it would work for my daughter.
I found a dentist who specialized in laser surgery and went in for a consultation. Right away I loved the dentist – he was a talker (this is where we bonded) – he told me that he had been doing the procedure for over 15 years and said my daughter was a great candidate for laser. Then, he told me that his next patient had unexpectedly cancelled so he could do the procedure immediately! At first, I was speechless (which for me doesn’t happen often), then relief washed over me – I didn’t have to make yet another appointment or spend weeks feeling anxious about the surgery.
So we did it there and then. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I got to be with my daughter and hold her hands during the whole procedure. It only took a half hour start to finish, so before I knew it, this thing that had been haunting me for 2 years was over.
When we left the office, the poor girl was hungry, so we got lunch. This was the last meal she ate for 24 hours. After the novocain wore off, she was in pain. She took a lot of naps and went to bed early. The dentist had recommended that I keep an eye on her overnight in case there was any bleeding. I was only too happy to snuggle up next to her in her little bed. She did great – no issues! By the second day, the swelling went down and she was able to start eating again.
It took me a bit longer to recover. I wasn’t expecting the surgery to have taken place so quickly, and I needed some time to myself to process what had happened. The first night I think I was still in shock. But the next night, I needed an outlet for the energy that came when I realized that all the work and worry that had gone into anticipating my daughter’s surgery had disappeared. So I got out the garland, ribbons and ornaments I had purchased weeks before, put on some Christmas music and decorated the big tree!
It was the perfect thing for me – a time to be creative, to get in spirit of Christmas, to be grateful for what I had, to put my effort into making something beautiful.
So when I stand back and look at this “perfect” tree, I know that it came out of something that was imperfect. I can see how perfection and imperfection balance each other out. For me, displaying something beautiful isn’t about pretending that imperfection doesn’t exist, it is a way of transforming something difficult or unpleasant into something that brings me and others joy. I had friends over the other day and they saw how beautiful this tree was, but I understood how beautiful it needed to be!