So, I’m in Walmart, slowly picking up my pace among thousands of frenetic shoppers. I am already walking with a rather brisk stride, but as I eye those next to me I find my feet moving faster and faster the closer I get to the Christmas decorations.
Then I turn. At the end of an aisle of red and green and glittery things I see a huge mound of tree skirts, probably 10 feet tall, and hundreds of people digging through them. I am on a quest to find a beautiful skirt to go around the bottom of my Christmas tree. Evidently, many others are pursuing the same thing.
It must have red and green alternating sections, made of soft and silky velvet, with scalloped edges made of eyelet lace. It must be heavy and luxurious, just like the one my mother made for our family when I was a little girl. I remember wearing it while we decorated the tree and sang to the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas album. I think that the year my mother made this beautiful tree skirt she also made us all matching dresses out of the same material.
This is the tree skirt I seek.
As I approach this pile of beautiful tree skirts, people are throwing unwanted skirts behind them. Several land on top of me, blinding me and weighing me down, and more panic sets in. What if I can’t find the one I want – the one I picture. I start ripping through the pile of tree skirts, my palms sweaty, my heart racing, and a lump in my throat – I am terrified. The pile is dwindling so quickly.
Then I see it – the exact tree skirt from my childhood. EXACT. I dive for it, my entire body hitting the floor. The world slows and just as I am about to reach it, someone swoops in and snatches it right out from in front of me. I watch as it disappears into a sea of Christmas shoppers, and I scream out as I weep, pull up my aching body, pick up one of the picked over red and green skirts, and begin to walk back down the aisle from which I came.
The crowd brushing up against me, my body heavy, my broken heart sobbing in my ears. I begin to walk and find myself in an aisle that is dark, quiet, sad, and lonely – I’m not sure how I ended up there, but it feels right.
As I trudge down this aisle, my eyes spot something turquoise, gold, and silver. I blink the tears away so I can see more clearly – as I inch closer, I see the most beautiful tree skirt I have ever seen. Completely different than what I had come for.
And completely perfect. Absolutely, completely perfect. I hug it to my chest and know that this is it.
It was all a dream
I had this dream during a time when Tim and I were trying to figure out how to handle the fact that this thing was happening between us. We tried really hard not to fall in love – it’s a long story I guess. We also tried really hard not to start this business – that’s a long story too.
Shortly after this dream, we officially started dating, and I became obsessed with finding the tree skirt in my dream. I drug Tim to every single store in Amarillo Texas and could not find anything even close. It was one year later that my younger sister, Jamie, and I found it at a trade show of sorts in Austin. A woman there took old upholstery fabric from used furniture and repurposed it.
My entire body filled with goose bumps when I saw it there. It was definitely out of the budget at that time, but I bought it anyway (my sister is often very good at convincing me to purchase things that will make me happy!)
Different and Perfect
It’s totally different than what I originally envisioned, and every year when I put it under the tree I do it with tears in my eyes because I love it so much.
As I place it under the tree I think about the long and lonely journey that led Tim to me. I think about our tree skirt’s journey. I think about our marriage. I think about our children. I think about this life we have built. I think about our business – a lot. I think about our very best of friends and the community we have found through our mission and our passion.
I think about the many people in our lives who have chosen a different tree skirt. We’re cycle breakers – in our families – with our horses – with our businesses. We do it scared. We often walk a lonely path, but we choose something different. . .really different.
And really beautiful.
This year, I put our perfect tree skirt under the tree in our new place in preparation for one of my favorite trainings, the Personal Immersion and it stayed under the tree throughout the season as we welcomed our trainers for the trainer’s retreat. It sits under our tree as a symbol of the resilience of people we would be welcoming into our home, and a symbol of our support of them as they do the hard work of healing and transforming. I thought about their grief and mine, and the things we let go of so we can grab hold of miracles.