That little artificial tree and most of our ornaments have been with us since the first Christmas Zac and I spent as a married couple.
As I recall, it was sometime in late October when we went on a spending spree at a local dollar store. Since our budget was still new to us, we cut as many corners as we could.
For example, the trees of my youth loom large in my mind. They seemed to be at least 10 feet tall and had bows, apples and other decorations hanging off every bow.
Getting those trees up plus prepping the living room and cleaning it afterward took hours for our family of four.
The tree that Zac and I picked out is six feet tall. To put it plainly, it was the cheapest.
I don’t think I realized until he put it together that first time how small it is compared to the trees I grew up with.
Still, it fits our house and our family perfectly.
I didn’t have enough creativity or money for a theme, so we went with standard Cordova colors — red and blue — in our selection of glass balls.
With the addition of a handful of assorted discount ornaments, some miniature pinecones, blue garland and a multi-colored star on top, we were ready for our first visit from Santa.
However, that winter we were more preoccupied with a little bundle of joy growing in my belly.
I still can’t believe that we had only been married for seven months that Christmas, and I was already halfway through my pregnancy.
That timing certainly wasn’t my idea, but I’m sure the Virgin Mary would say the same thing.
My 20-week ultrasound where we found out the sex of the baby fell on Dec. 23, which also happened to be Zac’s 25th birthday.
He opened his presents from me before we left for my appointment that morning. If I hadn’t taken pictures, I don’t think either one of us would remember a single thing that I so lovingly wrapped.
The news that we were having a son eclipsed the memory of everything that found its way under our tree that year.
By the following December, we were trying to keep a curious 8-month-old out of our tree.
One of my favorite pictures from that Christmas is of Wyatt reaching for one of the ornaments at the top of the tree while sporting a Santa suit and sitting on Zac’s neck.
This year as I pulled out ornaments that said “parents-to-be” and “Baby’s First Christmas,” I thought how odd it is that I should be the owner of such things.
Just five years ago, a husband and child were not even close to being on my holiday wish list. Now my world revolves around them.
Of course, that also means that I have three times as many worries.
I have spent a lot of time lately fretting about whether 2013 is going to be naughty or nice to the Cohrons. As has become our tradition, Zac and I have spent several late nights talking about all of my concerns next to the Christmas tree.
With the TV off, our only interruptions are when Wyatt wiggles in his sleep next to us on the couch.
It’s not like we solve any of the world’s problems during those chats, but the combination of Zac’s incurable optimism and the warm glow of Christmas lights never fails to be a calming influence on me.
Merry Christmas, birthday boy. I look forward to many more holidays with you.