It’s time to get the Christmas tree, and I’m reminded of the Tree Saga from 2006. It goes something like this (actually, it goes EXACTLY like this):
Somehow, this year I couldn’t bring myself to do the “tree” thing. Maybe I was overwhelmed with schoolwork, house work, homework…whatever. But I truly did NOT want a tree. Didn’t want to have to rake a spot in the living room for it. Didn’t want to drag out the lights that typically don’t work and require a trip to Wallie-World to buy lights that typically won’t work this time next year. Didn’t want to haul boxes of ornaments up the steps, sift through them, find a spot on the tree, knowing that “Georgie” the Wonder Cat would most likely climb the tree to attack a particularly enticing glass reindeer or fuzzy sheep. And most of all, didn’t want to go through my neurotic “Does the tree have enough water?” routine that obsesses me and amuses the boys.
So I told Sam and Nate, “No tree this year. I’m not up for it.” Stunned silence. I continued, “If YOU want a tree, by all means, go get one. And set it up. And put the lights and ornaments on it. And clean up the mess when you’re done. And, most of all, water it every morning and every night. OK?” Stunned silence.
I don’t know if they were in shock because of my mini-rebellion, or it they realized that they didn’t want to mess with that litany of tasks either. For whatever reason, they quietly accepted my edict.
One friend told me, “It’s ok. You don’t HAVE to have a tree.” Another said, “You’ll be sorry.” I held my ground.
Then Thomas came home. “Where’s the tree?” he asked, looking at the usual spot which was occupied by a spiky palm looking plant with several strands of tinsel flung across the fronds.
“We’re not getting a tree this year,” I said with confidence.
“What?!” Ta asked, incredulously. “No tree? I’m pretty sure that it’s unbiblical to not have a tree. Are you ok?”
I laughed (nervously). “Yeah, I just don’t want to mess with a tree this year. You can, if you want to.”
That was Thursday. Friday I went to Greenville to see a dear friend, spend the night and do some shopping. We had a blast, feasting at Bonefish Grille, chatting till 2am, hitting a dozen stores in about 3 hours, and ending up at Whole Foods Market, which is just a cool place to hang out. On the way home, I realized that I felt…refreshed, rested, ready to consider a tree.
In fact, as I pulled in the driveway, I secretly hoped the boys had decided to surprise me and do the “tree thing” in my absence. Surprise! No tree. I was disappointed.
Revelation: I wanted a tree after all. So on Sunday, after lunch, Jeff and Ta and Phil (my Jewish son) trekked down to the Sertoma lot to buy me a tree. No sign of Sertoma anywhere. I guess they sold all their trees to cheerful folks who knew they wanted a tree two weeks ago. Not willing to accept defeat in the face of my “tree repentance,” the threesome headed up to Merry Christmas Tree farm in Norris, where they slayed a lovely 7-foot Leland Cypress and dragged her home. All five boys finagled the tree into the holder, made sure it was straight, filled it with water, and draped it with 2 strands of white and 1 strand of colored lights. Beautiful!
By this time I was inspired to to put the ornaments on all by myself. I even had the Christmas music going. As I was admiring the tree, Nate said, “I was really upset we weren’t going to have a tree. It’s just not right.”
I laughed. Now that the tree was up and beautiful, it seemed right to have it. A good tradition.
UPDATE: Of course we’ve never had a tree that was trouble free. And this happy story is no exception. I got home from the Perrys last night to find all the water drained out of the tree (and you KNOW how stressed I get about the water) and many of the gifts soggy. Before I could get hysterical and say something stupid (like, “I KNEW we shouldn’t have a tree this year!”), all five boys were in the living room, lying on the floor, assessing the problem, offering solutions, etc. Truly. And now “I” was amused at “their” obsessing over the water in the tree. The troubleshooting session revealed a leak in the tree holder. So Jeff and I trudged to Wallie-World at 10:00 last night (which, by the way, is probably the best time to go there if you have to go there), and the tree was as good as new (almost) by 11:30.
ONE MORE THING: I suppose you’re wondering about “Georgie” the Wonder Cat. Well, he went in for “brain surgery” today, so hopefully he’ll be too preoccupied to notice the tree….for a day or so anyway.