Our First Christmas Tree



It wasn’t until we began bickering about whose responsibility it was to do what while putting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving that I realized, this was our first Christmas tree together. As husband and wife, and as a family. After 10 years of marriage. We’ve always been on the move, and living in ever smaller living quarters each time, plus, we always spend Christmases in New Orleans with Danny’s family, so we never bothered with a tree. Even though we’ve been dragging it around with us from the Superstition Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, to the Ozarks and back to the Rockies. But, this year, we wouldn’t be going anywhere. And Reagan is now four-years-old, which means she was ready to put the tree up as soon as the leftover turkey went in the fridge.

So now it would make it’s debut.

In my family, my Dad brought the tree out of storage, assembled it and hung the lights, then my Mom and us kids decorated it. That’s just how it was always done. So, why wasn’t Danny putting our tree up? And why did he seem annoyed when I asked him to please hang the lights? It seemed as natural to me as it was his job to take out the garbage and mine to do the cooking. Turns out, in Danny’s house, his Dad brought the tree in from the garage and his Mom did all the rest. I never knew. I wonder what I’ll learn ten years from now when we’re 50.

Not only is this our first tree together, it is our first Christmas apart. How we’ve managed that over the course of Danny’s career, I do not know, because it should be very difficult to get any Holiday off as a first officer. Looking back though, I can see how it has been our circumstances each time. Being furloughed from his job immediately after 9/11, our first year of marriage; being on active duty but given leave for the Holidays the following year; luck the third and fourth years; another activation with leave in the fifth; making Captain in the sixth, and then being on sick leave the seventh – tenth years. Seems it was his time.

So, this morning we celebrated Christmas by opening presents, and then Danny left for the airport at 1pm. We’ll be Skyping Christmas morning so he can see what Santa brings Reagan, and then home on Monday. It felt a bit strange opening presents before Santa arrived, but I’ll get used to it. I’m sure we’ll be Skyping through many more Holidays to come, including this New Year’s Eve.

On the bright side, Danny is back doing what he loves to do – flying airplanes. That makes this Christmas a very Merry one.

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