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Life Lessons: Sweet Baby Tree

Pinterest. I used to not be a fan. You find a picture of something you like, click on a link and are redirected sometimes to a dead page. Where is the step by step instruction I was looking for? And then there are all the Pinterest fails. Hilarious perhaps, but I just don’t have the patience to be a posing crafter and then have the project be a dud.

(But one day I found the best link ever for a no-sew Branch Troll costume for my son’s birthday. It was a hit. He still wears it and I now love Pinterest. The end.) ​ This Christmas season, I wanted a little bit more sophistication to our Christmas tree. We have a mix mash of ornaments: fancy Lenox ornaments with the kids’ names, handmade crafty ones, a random Barbie one, metallic green ones, and lights that blink furiously from blue to red to green. The star on top, well it’s plastic and multicolored. You already know, Pinterest would never ever use our tree as an example.

I found a beautifully decorated tree. The green of its branches was complimented by giant red and white candy canes, peppermint candy ornaments, ribbon and red and white bulbs. It was indeed something to use as a guide.

But my children still had last year’s model in mind. They still wanted a baby tree, one just my height. It wouldn’t be big and full enough to include all the beauty and grandeur of the tree in the Pinterest picture.

I had just gotten off work (I’m a barista somewhere.). I was exhausted. The youngest was asleep. It was raining. I didn’t even go in to the nursery to dissuade them. I waited in the car. In minutes my husband walked back with the kids, carrying the little tree under his arm like a light duffel bag.

I stopped at Walmart, determined to still make the tree better. I especially looked for ornaments and a bow with red and white stripes, and I couldn’t leave without ribbon.

By the time I reached home my husband had already put on the multicolored, blinking lights. I took out the red ribbon and wound it around the tree. One roll was almost enough. The kids put on the new bulbs I’d bought. When they asked or the green ones, I explained we didn’t need them this year. The star? No, we wouldn’t be needing that either. I placed the bow on top and asked how they liked it. My oldest thought it looked great. My oldest decorated our bookshelves with the heavy Lenox ornaments. I tucked some of the others away. Even though we had a baby tree, my plan was working.

Kind of.

My son had found the cupcake. I really don’t remember having that one. White frosting. Sprinkles. Red wrapper on the bottom. He put it on the tree and it didn’t hurt my eyes. Must have been the little red and white striped peppermint candy sticking out of the frosting. Needless to say, it’s still on the tree. ​ When it comes to so many things in life, perfection is not quite what we think. A perfect day for one person is reading a book on the beach, for another it’s a round of golf. For us, the perfect tree wasn’t the one on Pinterest. It’s the little tree my kids adore with that added touch of sweetness that makes me smile more than a Pinterest tree ever could.


Ashley Soden is the director of Write/Create, Inc. When she's not writing, she's living life to the full with her husband and three energetic kids.

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