Trimming the Tree: the Norman Rockwell Version:
The family put up the tree, decorating and singing lovely classic Christmas carols. Hot chocolate coupled with laughter rang through the household. The dog sat by the fireplace, his alabaster fur warmed by the caresses of the crackling yule log. Mom baked cookies sprinkled with candy canes. The family wrapped a few presents to house under the Douglas Fir to kick start a beautiful holiday season.
And...then there's our version:
My husband was unloading the overloaded shed. It had been raining all week and we didn't want to track the mud all throughout the house. So the porch doubled as a halfway house for wayward ornaments. Which the girls immediately began to rip through all the boxes of breakable ornaments, crèche, wrapping paper and whatever else was stored for the holiday season. I was getting increasingly agitated with each shred of the paper towels that protected my special keepsakes. After screaming "Stop touching the ornaments! I will let you open them when it's time!!!!" for the umpteen billionth time - my husband finally kicked the girls off the porch.
Ever flexible in their pursuit for entertainment, the two took to the trampoline for a steel cage match. The trophy: A silver and pink sparkly bejeweled tiara. Blood was spilled. Shirts torn. Hair pulling (albeit illegal) was rampant. Tears from both sides. The referee had seen enough. He physically separates the contenders and ends the match by breaking the coveted prize into pieces and dividing them up:
|There. A big and a little piece for each of you.|
His Pyrrhic victory was met with a set of complete and total meltdowns. As a result - all three were put in time out because they were giving me a headache the size of Egypt.
I dug out the only Christmas CD I have and turned it up very loudly to drown out the sounds of sobbing over the ghost of tiaras past. Too bad it was to Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC because the only holiday album I own is A Very Special Christmas Album. From 1987. Reverend Run was preachin' to me - which was far superior to the wailing wafting down the stairs.
So, all alone, I fluffed the freakin tree. Which takes a million years and causes my arms to break out in hives - even if I have three layers of clothing protecting my arms. At this point Lena has stopped crying and has come down to "help." And by helping, she is opening up all the ornaments and I'm panicking because I don't want her to break the few important ones - so I bait and switch with the silver balls. Nothing like handing your 5 year old a big ole pack of balls to keep her busy. Don't forget the pointy, sharp and dangerous things to hang them with! Oh, we ran out of those? Ok, here are some paper clips. Go to town.
Within 27 seconds she decorated the tree with every thing she could put her hands on. This includes hair ribbons, dolls, pictures of herself ("So Santa knows who I am, Mommy) and random toys. The bottom 4' of my tree are chock-a-block full of shit. The rest of it is sparsely decorated with my few cherished pieces.
I am fighting the OCD urge to move everything and space it out. But, Christmas is for the kids - I keep reminding myself. Even though it's killing me that she's putting it there! No! Not there! There! Be careful. Ugh. Don't drop that....fuck.
Meanwhile Emmeline has changed into a gymnastics leotard and is stealing candy canes from the tree. She has found the animatronic singing Christmas atrocities that my mother sends annually to rob me of my will to live. Emmeline is on round 469 of "Siwver Bears" (Silver Bells) I'm still in the midst of unwrapping ornaments. Then it's quiet. Way too quiet. I tip toe into the closet where E has sequestered herself to discover she has covered all of my shoes in stickers.
|Dees is pity, huh Mommy?|
Lena has finished decorating the bottom half of the tree and has decided to help me wrap. Again, why does "helping" create SO MUCH FREAKIN MORE WORK FOR ME????
My husband has really taken his time out to heart and has been hidden in his office for hours (lucky bastard). Lena has wrapped all of the presents for my in-laws and in doing so has used 3 rolls of wrapping paper and 47 rolls of tape.
|Mom - I need MORE tape! I only used two rolls on this!|
My OCD is making me twitch. The ornaments are scrunched up. The wrapping is messy. Emmeline is flying around the house, fueled with sheer sugar from Jolly Rancher Candy Canes sent by my best friend Beth. But, it's the season for kids - not control freak moms - right? Right? Crap. Take a deep breath and chase it with a Fireball shot.
I let Lena wrap until she had used up all the tape in the Bay Area. And, I handed Emmeline a broom. Because if she's going to fly around the house - she may as well be cleaning. I made hot chocolate for all three of us (and added a little bit of Butterscotch Schnapps to mine) and sat next to the tree with my baby girls. My girls added pounds of marshmallows to theirs - what's a little more sugar at this point?
Not to be left out - our new puppy came in and gave the tree his seal of approval by taking a crap under it.
|Crappy Holidays Mom!|
Here's to wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and hoping for peace on Earth. Or, at least 45 minutes of no fighting over the last bubble gum flavored candy cane.
Oh, and if you haven't seen my post about Flocking Around the Christmas Tree yet - check out Families in the Loop: