#When a Cripple Puts Up The Christmas Tree
When all of the able bodies in my family refused to set up the Christmas tree this year, at first I thought we just wouldn’t have one. Not the end of the world. I was disabled by a stroke 20 years ago and am the only member of the family who can’t safely get the tree up. My balance is poor and I am weak and uncoordinated.
I did not get where I am by having a defeatist attitude. I fought my way back from total left sided paralysis after giving birth to the baby I was expecting when I had the stroke. I live a relatively normal life despite my physical limitations.
Living like this means I have to accept many things will not be the way I would like. But not having a tree up for the first time in my life was not going to be one of them. I would just have to accept that the tree wouldn’t look perfect.
I had forgotten that a home health aide who worked for me last January had started to remove the lights from our pre lit artificial tree when I asked her to take it down. She didn’t realize the lights weren’t supposed to be removed. There was a lot of damage done. It was put away in a box in the basement and forgotten about.
I tried to get my sons who are 20 and 22 to put the tree up. They are over it. They don’t believe Santa won’t come if there is no tree. My estranged husband who lives in another state but still likes to spend holidays with his family said he doesn’t care if we have a tree and he didn’t want to do it.
This left the crippled family member as the only one who wanted to have a Christmas tree this year. The only one unable to do it.
I had to let go of memories when I was able bodied and climbed a ladder to put lights on our 8 foot real tree in our old house with the cathedral ceilings. I had to let go of the images of the hand blown glass ornaments that were broken in the years following my stroke that I used to put at the top of the tree on that ladder. Those were some of the nicest trees I ever had.
Hopes of having a perfect tree had been shattered.
But my stubborn determination was still intact.
With that, I asked my boyfriend to get the damaged tree out of the basement. He put it together after moving some furniture around in the living room. There were still some lights on it that worked. He went home after putting the topper ornament on the top from the box of decorations he had brought up from the basement.
I did the best I could adding ornaments to the damaged, sad looking tree with the sparse, dim lights. I have found that adding lights and decorations can make any tree look decent. It’s like magic.
I know Jesus would have forgiven us if we didn’t have a Christmas tree this year, but I’m glad I figured out how to have something even if it isn’t the best.