Online DVD Rentals
Online DVD Rentals

December 06, 2010

family tree

They woke up knowing this day was promised a Christmas tree. I hear the three brothers around 6:30 and come downstairs a half hour later. They're making ornaments with scissors, paper, and tape. Duct tape. After changing two and feeding four and wrestling through the whole winter coat, gloves, shoes, and hat find game, we're rolling to the tree farm.

Feed the dogs, they've been following me around all morning with heads turned. And I forgot my contacts and money. Trips to the tree farm aren't free.

The hill in Dillsburg is 34 degrees and windy. Each of the brothers has a saw, the sharpest one, it turns out, capable of cutting through warm margarine. Maggie wants carried and how can you possibly say no to any request of a two year-old wrapped in purple puff with hands lost in pink mittens?

"What do you think of all those Christmas trees, Buggies?"

"What trees?"

I advise the older two to pick one, any about as high as dads reach. After snobbing past hundreds of fit candidates, Luke decides on a scraggly thin evergreen that allows "lots of room for presents" on the bottom. Dad redirects him on the holiday, and over to an 8-foot spruce.

The saw is going nowhere and everyone wants to help. There's mud all over my coat and Buggs needs a tissue and Maggs is caught on a thorn bush and why didn't we just go buy a tree at the Upper Allen Fire Department like the last few years?

The tree finally succumbs, slowly and gently bending toward the ground in the most anti climactic fashion - to roaring applause. Everyone wants another turn with the saw. Pulling a tree downhill while carrying a two year-old is easier than you would think. But now she's asking to walk, and pulling a tree while a two year old stumbles through cut trees and plowed fields is much more frustrating than you would think.

Everyone is in the car demanding hot chocolate before the tree is tied down to the roof rack. I let out a deep breath and pay the lady and smile Merry Christmas. Watch what you say during the drive home cross examination regarding lights and ornaments and other logistics that are extremely important to 4- and 6 year-olds.

I notice that Winter Wonderland is blasting over the radio and at the age of 34, how many God forsaken times must I hear this song again?

Hot chocolate buys time for pruning, adjusting the stand, rearranging house furniture, dragging a tree into the house, and vacuuming needles.

A real tree is in our house. Which makes it all worth it. I'm wildly hopeful like that.

After lunch it's 12:30 and some of them are napping because dad needs to break this day up into two. After almost fainting from the combination of running hill sprints with (big) Ben and not having eaten anything for six hours, I literally lay motionless in a glucagon stupor on the driveway. Then on the living room floor, waiting for a Gatorade and handful of Honeycomb to kick in. The older two are decorating, cramming almost every ornament within 20 degrees of tree latitude and longitude.

The sound of broken glass gets me up off the floor and babbling. Something about leaving those kind in the box and putting the Steeler black and gold fake candy canes above where Maggs can try to eat them. I move the small Bible ornament that was hung behind the 90's era Shaq dunking a basketball ornament because that just ain't right. I move Shaq behind a paper and duct tape sled or snowman or something.

The decorations are on, er, "on," and now light must go over top because of the sprinting hang over. I find that only one string of last years white lights works, this and a string of multicolor. I go with all we have, both white and multicolor lights that begin flashing in a few minutes. They're flashing multicolored lights.

Unfocused image. Notice the miniature manger scene, half knocked down.
And it is done. The crooked tree, partially covered by decorations and inadequately lit with an odd color-flash scheme. It's up. It's in our home, center stage before the tired and excited six of us. Yes, the mom is home from her day of work. Hallelujah. Surprise her, we did, in a few ways with that tree.

The dad performance for the day: B- for being present and good memories and hustling over the tree but feeding the kids bologna and ketchup for dinner and in many ways taking on far more than he could handle in a spirit of peace.

He could use some quiet time in the dark, sitting and kneeling low on the floor beside that tree.

 - - -  - - - - -

1 comment:

Ann Kroeker said...

Excellent dad-work accomplished on minimal stores of energy!


You've done some very good work and told a very good story.