So the tree fell over. Full of lights and ornaments…a slow whoosh and then a whump. Ornaments everywhere, pine needles everywhere, but nothing broken–kind of amazing, given that the tip of the tree grazed a glass-fronted cabinet in the arc of its descent.

Very dramatic, no harm done. Which is how I like my drama.

Putting the tree to rights involved one of us going in search of a new tree stand at 5pm on a cold Sunday evening (thanks Husband! See reverb post #14, gratitude), and then pulling the tree out of the broken tree stand, wrestling it into the new tree stand, and then a lot of “is it straight?” “is it straight now?”  “what about now?” “NOW for god’s sake?”

The boys had no interest in re-hanging the ornaments–that was last night’s activity, part of the three-boy sleepover (using the word “sleep” here very loosely)–so Husband and I put the ornaments back and looped candy canes over the branches. It wasn’t a Rockwellian scene, by any stretch, but it was one of those moments where I felt really married.  Maybe that’s a weird thing to say, but putting our Christmas tree back together reminded me of our partnership in creating this entity called “family.” We’re not, in fact, just running some kind of odd race that involves passing our children back and forth like batons during a relay.

It’s a bit like what used to happen when the boys were younger — we’d be walking down the street and if one of them would yell “mommy,” I’d spin around, looking for the person who should be responding, only to realize a few seconds later, Oh. Wait. That’s me. I’m the one in charge.

Probably the boys will remember this Christmas as “the year the tree fell down,” and not remember any of the more deliberate stuff that Husband and I have put in place (like that damn advent calendar). And so that too, is a metaphor, for the way that family memories get made: from the random shit that happens, no matter how carefully one plans.  Our tree fell and we…well, actually we sort of laughed (mostly from relief that nothing broke and no one was hurt). We laughed and then we fixed it.