We’re going to pick out a Christmas Tree today. Call me Ebenezer Scrooge, but I’m not too keen on the idea this early in December. This might have something to do with the fact that growing up we didn’t get a Christmas tree until the week of my birthday – December 18th – which is exactly one week before Christmas. We also took it down exactly three days after Christmas in time for my sister Samantha’s annual New Year’s Eve Birthday Party. So my childhood home wasn’t festive for very long. I guess I’m just used to living that way.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas time. I’m like a kid I’m so giddy with anticipation for Christmas morning. I can hardly wait to watch Mia rip into the enormous amount of presents I have hidden in two HUGE boxes in the basement (we actually need to start a third box pretty soon.) Although Mia doesn’t really rip into presents, she opens them until she finds something she particularly loves and then stops. She will play with that one toy all day and will only resume opening presents once she has tired of it. In past years we’ve ended up with a box of unwrapped gifts that she could open at her choosing. She really isn’t your typical child in any sense of the word – but what’s so great about being normal anyway?
I have anxiety thinking about how my dog, Henry VIII, is going to act with his very own tree in the house to pee on. I’m sure that will be an interesting experience to say the least, considering he really isn’t the brightest dog around. I’m nervous about him learning that there will be a never emptying bowl of water under the tree to help him fill his bladder quicker for “marking” purposes.
We can’t even put presents underneath it until Christmas Eve when Mia finally goes to sleep. She has a tendency to rip into anything I put under there – looking for the one special present she is dreaming about regardless of whose name graces the package. I did this once and learned the hard way. I had to re-wrap everything – at least I was smart enough not to put any of her stuff out that year.
I’m also not looking forward to the endless sweeping and vacuuming that comes along with having a dying tree in your living room. I swear I just finally finished cleaning up the pine needles from last year’s tree. Plus, on my floor I already have enough sand to fill a sandbox and dog hair to make seventeen coats for Cruella Deville– I really could do without anything else to add to that mixture.
Oh God, then there is the ornaments. The never ending ornaments. The ornaments that Mia thinks are toys. She takes them off of the tree incessantly giving me anxiety of an extraordinary kind. I’m in constant fear that the tree will fall down when she is trying to retrieve one. No matter how many times I tell her they are not toys it doesn’t make a difference. She just doesn’t care. I don’t even want to think about how Henry will react to these shiny dangling things Mia has designated as “toys”. He already acts like a jealous younger brother constantly stealing, stashing, and eating her toys no matter where they are left. I can only imagine the race that will predictably ensue between the two of them to see who can get the most ornaments off first.
I’m sure this year the tree will fall for one reason or another. Roger will get annoyed that it isn’t straight and just leave it leaning until it can’t hold it’s weight anymore. Or maybe Henry will take a flying leap at it trying his damnedest to get his paws onto some particular ornament. Then I will inevitably forget to water it; not remembering until the pine needles turn crispy, brown, and blanket my carpet like a path in the woods. No matter how much I try to save it at that point it’s futile. No amount of water can save a cut down, starved, half dead, brown Christmas tree in my living-room.
None of that matters though. No matter how much I fret, or how many worries I have about this tree, we will still be out in the freezing cold tonight picking one out. And you know what, once we drag it home and set up in my house I will be transcended by it’s beauty. For a moment under the shining lights breathing in the fresh scent of forest I will definitely sit back and sigh at it’s loveliness. I will dream about the joy Roger and I will experience around it Christmas morning watching Mia open her presents. I will think about every single other tree I have had the honor of decorating and opening gifts under in my life. I will think about my loved ones. I will think about people who have passed that I used to spend this holiday with. And it will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I will be happy. I will feel like my heart is about to burst..
And then.. I’ll hear the sound of running water and the hazy dream world I am in will evaporate quickly. Henry will be standing there, perched under the tree.. peeing on it.