On Sunday we picked up our Christmas tree from our favourite Dunedin drug and alcohol rehab house and Christmas tree provider – Moana House! Trees are sold outside their premises on High Street and have been so for 27 years as their annual fund raiser. The reason we have a real tree is quite complex. It used to be something me and my ex husband should have divorced over – so in fact when we actually did get divorced, a real Christmas tree was the first thing I rushed towards!

The first year as a single blind parent, I remember walking up to our local garage with my white cane, 500 metres up the road, buying a tree, throwing it over my shoulder and carrying it back down the hill to our house. I can’t remember who helped me put that tree up in those early days, With the boys 7 and 5 I think I remember them being told to hold the tree straight while I attempted to screw the bolts tight on the Christmas tree stand. At this moment it’s timely to introduce my younger son Sebastian. His love and observation of smells is legendary so you can imagine his delight at a real Christmas tree. He would stand in the room and sniff deeply and say “smell that tree Mum.” When we had finally finished decorating the tree Sebastian would be very excited and if the door bell rang well he just couldn’t contain himself. He would run and open the front door and say to whoever it was “Would you like to come and see our tree?” Most people couldn’t refuse his invitation and they would accompany him down the hallway and into the living room to see the tree. I now know that what they really saw was the delight in a little boy whose sense of wonder knew no bounds.

Sebastian wasn’t able to join us on Sunday when we picked up the tree but we were given strict instructions on what to look for. “It has to be as tall as me Mum, with tight branches and even all the way round!”

As we drove away from Moana House with our prescribed tree on board, my nostrils caught a wiff of that pine smell that Sebastian loves so much. I sniffed again and for a longing moment was able to share Sebastian’s sense of wonder and be enveloped by the smell of Christmas!

Thanks Sebastian! Look at you beside your tree! Did we get the height right?

Now here are 10 things I smelt, heard, tasted and touched this week!

1 the feel of the warm air as I opened the back door yesterday morning at 5.40 am to see if it was raining or not!

2 the sound of my gorgeous blind coaching client as he was thinking big! People’s voices change when they are energised – I love that sound!

3 the feel of the tinsel we bought to embellish Sebastian’s Christmas tree!

4 the taste of the chicken suvalaki I had at Delicacy with Zac at lunch!

5 the feel of the soy chai latte I drank – so creamy and frothy!

6 the feel of all the Christmas treats at the supermarket this week. So many different shapes!

7 the sound of all the instruments at the Rock shop! It was so much fun shopping!

8 the sound of Jason at the Rock shop – he was so much fun!

9 the taste of the lime and avocado dressing I put on the rice for our tea last night!

10 the feel of the triangle we bought at the Rock shop – it vibrated much more than I ever thought it would! Oh – who’s going to get that in their stocking?????

I may not see

But I can smell

And taste and touch and listen

And when I do this every day

I find my optimism!