As a young parent, I had a vision of what Christmas would be for my children.
In my mind, they would wake up early, donning new pajamas as they sprinted to the living room with a twinkle in their eye to find many gifts placed neatly under a beautifully decorated tree by a really cool Santa.
I will never forget our first family adventure to the Christmas Tree Farm. This was the vision I had:
We would pack the kids into the truck bundled in their coats and pop in some Christmas tunes that the kids could sing along with. When we made it to the farm, we would walk deep into a snowy field in search of the perfect tree. Daddy would cut it down and tow it back to the barn where we would sip hot chocolate and apple cider while the tree was packaged and loaded.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Alas, it was not to be.
Instead of a beautiful, light snow, we received a not-so-beautiful light rain but I would not be deterred. I knew that it was going to clear up, so not all was lost — yet.
When Darren got home from work, we were excited to get our adventure underway. All of us but Darren, that is. Although he tried to muster a smile for the kids, his eyes were already calling me names that are not appropriate for print. Because I was accustomed to his party-pooper ways, I did not allow that to deter me, either.
So we packed up the kids in their coats and their boots and I popped the Christmas music in. Two minutes into our drive, the oldest started picking on the youngest. “Mommy! Mommy! She’s touching me!” Wanting to keep the momentum going, I softly said “Now kids, just sing along to the music. We’re going to find our perfect Christmas tree!” Three minutes later: “Mommy! She’s touching me again!” This time, he had tears in his eyes, so I turned around, looked his sister straight in the eyes and said “Knock it off!” She snickered and the game was on.
When we arrived at the farm, the ground was muddy and the trees were sopping wet. But, honestly, it shouldn’t have been a big deal, right? It was Christmas and the spirit was alive and well at the Christmas Tree Farm!
OK, maybe not.
We had walked about the length of a football field when the kids started screaming uncontrollably. They didn’t care about any dumb tree and my husband was now looking at me with “I told you so” eyes.
He would walk up to a tree and say, “This one?” I would give it the 360-degree walk around, put my finger to my lip, tilt my head to one side and say, “No, I don’t think so.” With a glare, he walked to the next. “This one?” (Begin again).
Finally, Darren looked at me with a serious glare and said, “If you don’t pick one in the next three minutes, I’m leaving.” I sighed, the kids cried, Darren scoffed and the people in the aisle over laughed.
Once home, Darren shook the tree, brought it inside and set it (although not with great care.)
At that point, I was alone to decorate. Nobody wanted any more to do with me or that Christmas tree.
Later that night, I fixed my own hot chocolate, turned off all of the lights except for those on the tree and snuggled on the couch with a blanket and some soft music. All was right with the world. That is, until the shadows on the ceiling above the tree began to move.
I squinted my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. No, I was right. It was the biggest spider on Earth, webbing its way through my tree. Startled, I got up and turned on the lights only to find what appeared to be a million little spiders crawling all over the wall and the hardwood floor. Yes, I screamed. It wasn’t a feminine scream. It was more like a blood-curdling scream. Everyone came running.
Darren pulled the tree, ornaments and all, through the front door and into the front yard in his underwear. (That was funny). He then looked at me in disgust. He didn’t have to say a word. He simply went back to the bedroom and slammed the door as the kids looked at me with shocked, sleepy eyes. The youngest was crying again.
If you are a young parent with a sweet dream, I hope yours comes to fruition. However, if it doesn’t, just know in your heart that I, too, have been there and done that. It’s not the end of the world. Every Christmas will come with its own unique memories. Some will simply be more memorable than others.
Have a great week!