Our family (or maybe just the kid in me) was looking forward to the day when we could get out in the area and pick our own Christmas tree. After spending many Christmas’s in Manhattan and not being able to get a fresh tree of our choice, it was really exciting to finally have that experience.
I searched for farms in our area and discovered that by this past weekend, a lot of tree farms were already out of trees! Luckily, we found a small and quiet farm to visit with plenty of selection available. We all bundled up for the 38 degree weather and set out to find our tree! Our ceilings at home aren’t super tall, so we needed something no taller than 6ft. We found a tree in no time at all! The farmers assisted in cutting the tree down and even getting it onto our car. We were able to snap a few shots of the experience that came out nice.
Eloise insisted on bringing along her crazy-haired Eloise doll. She and her doll went crazy running through the rows of trees. I got nervous a couple times as she ran out of my view and refused to answer when I called her name! I had to run through the maze of tree with Vi in tow and try to not trip over tree stumps to catch up with her! Anyone else have a toddler who loves running away and never looking back?! She’s been doing it since she learned to walk and we’re still working on getting her to stand next to Mommy and Daddy. Then, she didn’t want to leave when it was time to drag the tree to the car. Luckily the farm gave out free cookies and hot cider on the way out, which cheered her up. Who can say no to a rainbow chip cookie?!
Once we got the tree home, we were able to decorate after moving it around our living room a few times. Couldn’t quite find the right spot for it. In front of our bay window took up too much space in the room and by the fireplace it might be a fire hazard? We ended up positioning it in the corner by the fireplace and vowing to keep it watered so it’s not dry and flammable. We’ll also try to use our heater and not light the wood stove as much while the tree is up.
I love taking out all of our ornaments each year. Most of what we have was given to us by our parents. My parents have given us a few and Ryan’s parents have given us lots of personalized family ornaments for each year and we love those. Eloise loved all her special ornaments from her Mimi and Poppy. My brother in law and sister in law, Adam and Kate, also gave us a very special ornament for Gwyneth last year that we took out again this weekend for the tree. I loved placing this on the tree though it’s very painful to do.
It’s such a stab to the heart to not have your child with you to enjoy the holidays. To have nothing but a Christmas tree ornament for them. Seeing such joy on Eloise’s face as she decorates the tree, makes me long to see what Gwyneth would do and look like now. Would she crawl over to the tree? Or would she be able to walk like Eloise could at that age and pull down all the balls?! The hard reality of child loss is that anytime your family experiences a happy joyous time, a stab of pain and sadness tears through you unexpectedly. Like a lightning bolt you don’t even see coming. Gwyneth is not here and we will never watch her experience the holiday joys that our other daughters get to. I must face that reality. It never gets any easier; I want to be honest.
Once the tree was all decorated, I stupidly put some candy canes on it. We began with 12 candy canes but we’re down to about 4 and all were eaten by Eloise! I should not have placed those on the tree so early. Now I know why growing up, my mother never let us put candy canes on the tree while decorating it. Santa always put the canes on the tree and they were there on Christmas morning. Mommy knew we would eat all the candy canes and have none for the holiday. Or my brother Ellis would eat them all and save none for any other kid!
In all, we had a great tree farm visit and I know we are lucky to have created such warm memories with Eloise and Violette. We will always long for Gwyneth and her physical presence in our family. We carry the sadness of her absence everywhere we go. She is with us in some way. We will never forget her – especially during the Holidays.