Christmas trees and control

If Instagram is like the glossy, picture-perfect Rosy Life magazine, then sometimes the blog feels like its less gloss, but more grit, sister.  A very rough draft if you will, compared to Instagram.  Who wants to type all their tumbling thoughts with their fingers on a tiny keyboard on the phone?  Well I don't at least.  So the blog is my sitting spot.  My spot to sink down into that writing couch I mentioned a few posts back and let thoughts brew or occasionally spill out as fast as they'll come.  Which for today, better be pretty fast.  Friends, can I be honest with you?  How do you rise early on these dark, cold mornings?  I have always been one to rise before my kids, at least whenever possible.  The baby years did make it a bit tricky and I gave myself a big pass for survival mode. But now, I'd like to be up in the dark, quiet house alone but the layers of two quilts and a comforter just aren't having it.  I'm getting ready before the girls which is still a win in my book, but need an extra push (or a space heater!) to get up just a tad earlier to write.  
Today though I have a lucky few minutes where the girls aren't up yet and my brain has been snapped WIDE awake by the frigid shower! 
I suppose I'm sounding like a true adult when I ask the question "Can you believe it's almost Christmas?"  And I'm saying this knowing the next few weeks will be a blur of activity.  Ann Voskamp has a quote floating around her social media pages that reminds us that busy is a choice, stress is a choice, joy is a choice.  So choose well!  

I don't always choose well, but I'm getting better.  The Friday after Thanksgiving Brett traipsed up and down the stairs, ducking into the attic to bring the Christmas decorations out for another year.  We'd had a delicious breakfast so I was busy at the sink, my dishes keeping me company.  It wasn't long before I started hearing the squeals of the girls and looked up to notice their smiles huge, their bodies jumping up and down with joy, and their eyes twinkling with excitement.  

From where I stood at the sink I watched as Brett unpacked our "artificial" tree (this sounds better than fake).  It made no difference to the girls, they acted is if we had found the giant tree Brett and I spotted at Rockefeller last year!  Slowly the tree was put together, the branches tucked in neat and tidy next to one another, but not too neat and tidy.  Our tree does have a certain facade to keep up you know, with all the pines and firs on the farm looking in. And we all know that the most real things are usually quite rough around the edges as well. 

Then, this is where things got really interesting.  With boxes of ornaments strewn about the entire living room floor I heard myself tell the girls to "have at it."  
I don't typically consider myself a control freak, except sometimes my creative control gets the best of me.  If you've seen me ask Brett to take a picture and then tell him exactly how to do it, you'll know what I mean.  My brain spins creative webs that are hard to get loose of sometimes.  I just see the world through an artist's lens.  This is both spectacular and a bit cumbersome at times.  Take our tree for instance.  I had at least a dozen themed ideas (one including photographs) that I could picture already in mind.  The only problem with all those creative thoughts? My girls were nowhere in sight. 
This year the girls decorated the tree almost entirely by themselves.  I reached up high and gave 4 little ornaments a spot, but other than that it was all done by them.

The truth and takeaway for me was this: the girls won't be 4 and 5 ever again.  Ever. They'll grow up and other activities will fill their lives and I may even be the only one decorating the tree.  There will be opportunities for all the themed trees I could imagine, later.  I have a feeling it won't be near as much fun as this.  In fact, I know it won't.  This year I got to watch stress slide right out the door as I invited my girls to use their creativity and decorate the tree themselves. I quickly slammed the door on control and just sat and watched with such great joy and pride as my girls helped each other with the tree and let their own imaginations be hard at work. 

And our tree? How did it turn out? 
Simply beautiful. 
The most beautiful tree I could imagine.  
Sure, the bottom of the tree is ornament heavy and the only rhyme or reason to it could be understood by toddler logic.  But this tree was decorated with love.  
I'm learning that love is just truly the greatest of all.