Last weekend the kids and I planned on putting up the Christmas tree together. We decided to decorate the tree Friday after school. The kids wanted to have a tree-trimming party so they invited their BFFs to stay over night and help with the decorating. To prep, and generally make life easier (my life, anyway), I put the tree up while the kids were in school. Mitty Kitty was a great help. He helped sort the branches by tasting them. He verified the stability of the base and the sturdiness of the trunk by climbing the tree when it was only half up. I’m so glad he was there to assist me.
I was going to put the lights on it too, since that’s the most tedious chore, but the kids had neglected to clean up the storage room like I had asked so that didn’t happen. I couldn’t even get into the closet, let alone find the box of lights. I decided to wait until the kids got home from school so they could clean up the mess and bring the boxes of lights and decorations upstairs. Lesson 1 for the kids – do what you’re asked, when you’re asked and the workload becomes lighter in the long run.
Rian and her friend came from school but Alexi and his buddy did not. As it turned out Alexi’s BFF was not allowed to sleep over but Alexi could sleep over there. He pleaded with me, and being the soft-hearted mom that I am, I said he could. We decided we would decorate the tree on Saturday morning. Alexi and friend would come home around 10 am and the five of us would decorate the tree. Good plan.
The girls offered to get the boxes of lights and decorations from the storage room and I gratefully accepted their assistance. Foolish, foolish me. While I put the lights up the girls rummaged through totes filled with tree ornaments, Santas, snowmen and nativities. They oohed and aah-ed as they extracted the treasures from the plastic tombs. I reminded them to be careful since many of the ornaments are fragile and they tried to reign in their enthusiasm. Fortunately, nothing was broken, but when I entered the storage room to return one of the now empty boxes, I wanted to cry. The mess from earlier had been shoved to the side and there were totes everywhere! Boxes were stacked precariously atop one another, tilting at odd angles just waiting to dump their loads on my unsuspecting floor.
I gave the girls the blazes and they went downstairs and straightened some of it up. By this time I was worn out. More mentally than physically, that’s been happening a lot in the last couple of weeks. So in the best interest of my state of mind I went to bed. The tree would wait.
Ten o’clock Saturday morning came and went – no Alexi. I called around 11 am. Alexi explained that his friend wasn’t allowed to come to our house (he has two younger brothers who had been missing him since he was spending so much time at the Madhouse). My son pleaded with me to stay longer at his buddy’s house. Rian had already made plans to sleep over at her BBF‘s so I caved and said we’d decorate the tree on Sunday.
Saturday night the Madhouse was terribly quiet since both kids were at sleep overs. Sunday morning came and both kids promised to be home by 2 pm to decorate the tree. Rian was home by 2 and we had unexpected visitors. Old friends who have been serving in Indonesia as missionaries for the last several years and their 2 young children. Rian, Judah and Miriam decorated the lower part of the tree while I chatted with my friends.
By 4 pm our guests had left but Alexi had not returned home despite my calls to request his prompt return. I drove over, picked him up and grounded him for life (ok, only for a week but he thought it was eternity). By this time it was almost supper, I had a massive headache and had given up on the tree. The kids played video games, ignoring the open totes and half-naked Christmas tree in their midst, while I tried to sleep the headache away (no such luck, but it was worth a try).
After supper and showers the kids asked if they could watch TV. I told them forget it! They’d been on screens all day, they could do something else, like decorate the tree. Decked out in jammies and robes the kids were placing ornaments on branches and listening to Christmas music. Ahhh, bliss. You can picture it, can’t you? It was a lovely sight right up until WWIII broke out in the living room. There was yelling, angry words and them “SMACK” – Rian slapped her brother.
Tears were streaming down his face and Rian’s cheeks were flushed. I took the time to decipher the “he started it”s from the “she hit me”s. My answer? Bear in mind the Little Drummer Boy is still pounding out a solo in my forehead. “That’s it! Go to bed! No reading. Rian you’re grounded from screens for 2 days. I’ll finish the tree, by myself, tomorrow!!”
And I did. In lovely solitude, listening to the Celtic Woman Christmas CD, I trimmed the tree by myself. Ok, I had a little help from Mitty Kitty.