Putting up the Christmas tree with children is inspiring. In past years, it has inspired the Daddy to raise his voice multiple times, need a scotch break or two in the midst of decorating, and write a post summing up the entire misadventure.
The boys must be getting more mature. This year I could count on two hands the number of times I had to yell at somebody, and I made it through the entire process without an ounce of liquor. I begin to wonder if the event merits a post at all.
Well, it’s part of a tradition, and we’ve already lost the scotch break, so let’s just see if having conscientious helpers for once ruins the whole story.
We have a fake tree, against which I expect the boys to rebel at each new season. This year makes another in which my expectations were wrong. They like the fake tree. Perhaps it’s because the tree needs to be built every year, like a construction set, which may seem like fun to foolish, young people. Also the tree comes out of a rather large box, the likes of which you don’t get to climb into very often.
Part of me is concerned these boys aren’t clamoring for a real tree. That seems like what boys should do. But that concern is quelled when I think how convenient it is that I can fetch the tree in my slippers. It shouldn’t be surprising children don’t pine for a real tree, considering how much of the world they live in is virtual.
Big Brother helped me assemble the branches of the tree. He was more help than hindrance, the first signal of the demise of my traditional scotch break and cooling off period. He helped me test the light strands, only neglecting his duties long enough to check in with the game he was playing on the computer.
Buster and Big Man helped with the lights too, this year with the understanding that the main purpose of the strings was not to be used in a tug-of-war. Another nail had been struck into the coffin of my period of scotch and deep breather exercises.
Once the lights were up, the boys hit the ornaments with gusto. Only this year they kind of, almost, sort of, nearly worked together as a team. Big Brother handed the others hooks from the tangled, rat’s nest wad of wire, they selected their ornaments and hung them all in a three-branch radius at the bottom third of the tree. Big Brother picked up the slack higher up the tree, and I, barely necessary any longer, placed one or two bulbs at the very top.
Last came the garland. Buster and Big Brother were eager helpers, overcoming their instincts to strangle the tree in a shiny, boa necklace with minimal intervention.
And just like that it was finished. They’d made a delightful tree. I’d needed neither alcohol nor soothing meditation. What’s become of this world?