I thought about those perfect trees last weekend as Brian and I decorated our Christmas tree, a tree that we both agreed on immediately, and then got home and discovered it was too fat to fit where we'd planned to put it. We passed the long string of lights around and around getting them just right--and then discovered that we'd done the strand the wrong way, so we didn't have the plug end when we got to the bottom of the tree, and we wound them back around the piece of plastic, and started over again. We dug out ornaments that I've been collecting since we first moved in together, including a bunch I made out of plastic yogurt lids, photographs, and glitter glue that first year when we didn't have any ornaments. Now we have a bunch of glittery ornaments that I bought at the Crate and Barrel outlet last year, pretty glass globes that I've picked up in various places, delicate outlines of rose windows from Cathedrals we've visited, a ceramic giraffe that says "Baby's first Christmas" and is personalized with Adriana's name and the year, and of course my photo ornaments--Brian and me at our college commencement (I miss those hot pink leopard print sunglasses), the two of us sunburned in Hawaii, his parents kissing under some mistletoe, our friend Jeff rolling his eyes, my mom and me in San Diego. We put all these treasures up on the tree--with none lower than about three feet--settled a sock monkey at the top, and stood back to admire our work and eat some warm gingerbread. It's its own kind of perfect.
Last night I sat in the dark and rested my cheek on Adriana's head. I could smell the Christmas tree behind us, and I thought about the huge trees we had when I was growing up and how exciting it was to find our favorite ornaments as we dug through the decorations every year; about decorating our first tree together, even though we weren't going to be home for Christmas that year; about sitting in a room that was dark except for the lights of the tree last year and feeling Adriana kick at my ribs; and about how someday Adriana is going to be as excited about Christmas as I am. And then I stopped myself and thought about how Christmases past and future were less important in that moment than the simple fact that I was rocking my baby and smelling the Christmas tree right then.