My mom and I are very different in our tastes. She is eclectic psychedelic 60's, I am tailored Pottery Barn. We have always been opposite in many respects. For instance, growing up she saw nothing wrong with a fake tree, which is heretical to me. She also likes multi-colored lights... and bulbs. To top it off she puts on the odd, and unmatched "special" ornaments that, in my humble opinion, ruin the entire feng shui of a tree. At least we didn't do the blinking light thing (very often). So when I "grew up and got mt own house" you better believe I did it MY WAY. Fresh tree, white lights, gold and burgundy bulbs, ribbon, and nothing to shock the delicate balance of harmony. I loved it. And so began my Christmas tree tradition.
It grew as our family grew. I do accept tasteful Hallmark ornaments, and we involve the kids with choosing and cutting down our own tree. But the lights are my deal (it takes a Jedi to know exactly how to string lights on a tree - I learned it from my mom - whose method was good, it was just the color I abhorred). I also do the bulbs, and well, everything else about decorating the tree. People ask me about letting my kids help, and I inform them that we do so many things in our home which involve the kids I do not feel guilty in the least that I get the Christmas Tree. I have given up the walls in my home, which are now oddly covered in artwork taped wherever the whim carried the artist. I have given up my vehicle, which now houses noisy toys playing badly tuned electronic versions of classical masterpieces. I gave up my privacy, body, sanity, in essence my being in order to serve the little people in my care. I AM NOT GIVING UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE.
A few years ago the older girls started asking when they could help decorate the tree. I told them that this was Mama's special thing, and they may never get to do it. When they grew up and had their own homes....
Last year I finally gave in and allowed them to help with the bulbs, and even an occasional Hallmark ornament. Of course I supervised everything, and admittedly went back after they had gone to bed in order to rearrange some of their finer choices in composition. It about killed me.
Then Josiah was born, and now everything is ruined. In the first place we had to go to Kris Kringle "Lot o' Trees" to buy our tree because there was no way we were making it as a family into the Santa Cruz mountains with Mama lugging Josiah. We all agreed it was a doable solution that will instantaneously be thrown down next year when we go back to our favorite spot and cut our own tree. We picked our tree out on Monday, and by Friday it still had not a lick of anything remotely decorative upon it. The week was admittedly crazy, but the kids were becoming anxious. The natives were restless. Christopher and I finally promised them we would decorate the tree on Saturday. And then disaster struck, and I have lost my tree forever.
Josiah disagreed with some chocolate I ate (I know), and was very gassy and fussy starting at 4am Saturday morning. He also decided to throw a little growth spurt in there, and by Saturday afternoon I thought I was going to lose my mind. Between trying to burp him and feed him I barely had time to pee, let alone appreciate decorating a Christmas tree. But a promise to an 8, 6 and 4 year old is a matter of life and death. I managed to get the lights up, with the newly acquired assistance of Hannah, but when the actual decorating was about to begin, complete with "help" from Hannah, Bethany and Caleb, I had to sit and nurse for the millionth time. I suddenly could not manage bulb placement, let alone bulb selection. I could only coach from the side lines. By the end of the night I was hearing things like:
Why don't we use more colored bulbs?
I like the lights when they blink.
How come we can't put tinsel on the tree?
When you grow up and have your own home...