My husband loves Christmas. He loves all holidays. He is like a little boy. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. He loves them. He loves the music and the movies and of course, the food.
But two years ago, there was no Christmas at our house.
It had been barely six weeks since my husband's dad had died unexpectedly. I asked him if he wanted to put up the tree. He shook his head. "My heart aches," he said. So I left it at that.
There had been years in the past where we were tired and busy, and frankly a little weary from life. (I laugh at that now. How are two 25 year olds weary of life? 2008. We were all there, right?) During these times we had forgone decorating our whole house, opting instead to just hand a wreath on the door and pull out the tree with just white lights and call it a day.
But Christmas 2010 we didn't even do that. The tree stayed in the box in the barn. The wreath stayed there with it. We listened to music when it came on the radio and we did out Christmas shopping, but there was no joy in our house.
I told a coworker this much. "It's just strange for me because I know my husband loves the holiday so much. Maybe I could get a poster of a tree or something."
Then the coworker grabbed a Sprite bottle, wrapped it in silver ribbon and stole an ornament from the company Christmas tree.
"Everyone needs a tree," he said.
I took the "tree" home. I put it on the shelf in our hallway. That was our tree that year. It was a good representation of everything we were feeling. A little discarded, a little hopeful and a little loved.
I don't still have that tree. It fell off the shelf and fell apart. But I remember a friend who cared enough to make me laugh.
Little did my husband and I know that a year later we would have one of the best Christmases of our lives. But that story comes a little later.
Next week: A spring wedding.