It was the worst of times… Christmastime with our four kids, my husband, the dog & cat and our own business.
Our daughter was selling Christmas trees as a fund-raiser for her school so we bought a wildly expensive variety of tree I’ve never seen before – long, skinny needles and floppy limbs. I was a little peeved because we couldn’t really afford the expensive tree and per normal, the kids were excited to decorate the tree until the lights were strung and the hot chocolate was gone. Then I found myself alone hanging the ornaments on individual branches and cherishing the memories they evoked. It took me hours to display each gem in the most aesthetically pleasing way, then I had to clear up the boxes, tissue paper, dirty mugs and the rest of the mess and store everything away so I could reverse the process in about three weeks.
We ran our own business which means we pretty much worked 24/7. So I was tired and grumpy when I got up the next morning and found about half the ornaments on the ground with the cat looking sheepish. This time it wasn’t really her fault but she has a guilty conscience and looks sheepish a lot. I realized that the ornaments were sliding off the long needles so with no helpful elves around (again), I wired each ornament securely to its limb then went shopping for gifts and groceries, I shipped packages, did laundry, cleaned the bathrooms – you know the drill if you’re a working mom, and I got home just in time to prepare dinner.
Attempting to de-stress with a glass of wine after experiencing all the Christmas throngs and good cheer at the mall, I was working at the stove when there was a thump, a crash of breaking glass, barking, meowing & nervous laughter from the living room. You guessed it, the tree was on the ground amid broken ornaments and the kids were sidling toward the door where the dog and cat were vying with each other and the kids to exit the room.
I was calm. Mayhap it was the wine. Perchance I was on my second glass of wine.
I found the largest nail in my husband’s toolbox and his hammer. I called the biggest kid in to hold the tree straight while I shoved it into the corner, grabbed the two largest branches in the back and nailed them to the wall. I picked up the unbroken ornaments and forced them into my children’s hands and told them to do whatever they wanted with them. The youngest had the temerity to say, “Daddy’s not going to like that”.
I fed the kids, finished my wine and went to bed.
When I got up to make coffee the next morning, the tree was laying on the floor; the large nail having split the branches. Fortunately, the tree was located near the sliding glass doors to the back yard. I opened the doors, removed the star from the top of the tree so I could get a good grip and dragged that sorry-ass tree into the back yard. I made my coffee, added a nice big splash of Kahlua and listened to soothing Christmas music until my family arose.
After my second cup of coffee I was smiling serenely when the kids looked outside and saw their Christmas tree glistening in the morning sun. They didn’t say a word.
“Why is there a spike in the wall?” asked my husband.