Part of divorce is having to decorate alone, especially when you’re an empty nester. Not like the kids or ex-husband helped a lot to decorate at Christmastime, but it was nice to do it as a family. I had been putting off getting a Christmas tree because I kept hoping the kids would have time to come home for a few hours, but they’ve been really busy with school. So, I decided to go out on my own and get a tree.
Now you’d think that this is not such a big deal, but it felt depressing. Alone, wandering the rows of trees, I couldn’t help but remember the good times when as a family, we went to the tree farm. I wandered aimlessly not finding a tree to bring home and worrying about how I would get it home because I’m not very strong and it takes two people to put a tree in the stand.
I was pretty teary yesterday, but I chose to go during the week so that I wouldn’t run into a ton of families which would have made me feel even more alone. And yes, I was feeling pretty lonely.
Finally I met a man who worked there named Pedro. I asked him to help me to find a tree since he was familiar with the trees on the lot. He smiled at my teary face with a holiday spirit of kindness and motioned for me to follow him. I took a deep breath and walked to the back of the lot where he rustled around in a large stacked pile of trees with great gusto. Suddenly, he pulled one of them out and banged it on the ground in front of me to show me that the needles were still in place.
This, he said motioning to the tree ceremoniously, this is your tree.
As I looked at the tree, it was still folded up, but there were no bare spots and the top looked perfect for my angel.
Ok I said to him. This is my tree. Honestly, I didn’t think I had a choice as he’d done so much work to find it.
Now we will put it on your car to take home?
No, I can’t do that. Can we deliver it to my home and have it set up?
He cocked his head and looked at me as the tears began to flow again. Sometimes that pang of being divorced and alone just punches you in the gut when you’re least expecting it. And it’s not like I want to be with my ex anymore. But that nostalgia of happier times kept replaying in my head.
Yes. We will do that. Tomorrow we deliver it and set it up for you?
I nodded, grateful that I didn’t have to explain.
Yes. Ok. Come with me. I will take care of your tree. He smiled this big grin and I smiled back as he led me inside to the register. He handed over the ticket to the cashier, explained what I needed and they scheduled the delivery. As he turned to leave, I called to him.
Thank you Pedro. Gracias. Feliz Navidad to you.
You are welcome Miss. Feliz Navidad. Smiling he added, Don’t worry. It’s all good.
As I walked to my car, all I could think of was his message, Don’t worry, it’s all good. I got in my car and the tears began to really flow as I listened to the Christmas music on the radio. One more step in this next chapter. Empty nester getting a tree alone, but I accomplished it, with the help of a kind stranger.
P.S. The tree was delivered this morning and set up for me! And as it’s unfolding in the warmth of my home, guess what? It’s the prettiest tree I’ve ever seen! Pedro surely knew what he was doing. Thanks Pedro. It’s all good.