My family has survived a holiday tradition. We have cut down our Christmas tree.
Sure, it sounds like fun. A happy family skips through the tree farm and finds the perfect tree. Dad cuts it down easily, without using any swear words at all. The kids watch him while sitting on logs and drinking hot chocolate. And Mom? Well, she's snapping pictures for their holiday scrapbook.
That's not my family.
No, my family is the one trudging through the tree farm, arguing over which tree would be perfect. We're the ones who have scoured the entire place for hours and still haven't found a tree. It's getting dark and cold. We're all out of hot chocolate. And pretty soon, we've walked so far, we can't even see the tree farm. In fact, we can't even see any trees at all. So we turn around and hike up the hill.
After we get back to the tree farm, we're a lot less picky about our tree. We find one-but now comes the hard part-sawing it down. Have you ever used a saw at a Christmas tree farm? I think by law all saws provided there have to be 100 years old and last sharpened when FDR was running the country.
But Hubby saws our tree. And he saws. And he saws.
And while he is sawing he says a lot of words that I'm sure Junior has heard before, but not yelled with as much…er, enthusiasm. But it doesn't matter. Junior is so busy begging Hubby to let him saw down the tree, that he doesn't even hear the words. Finally, Hubby stops swearing and hands Junior the saw. Junior pulls once, the saw gets stuck and Junior ends up face first in what I hope was mud.
So Hubby finishes sawing down the tree. This takes approximately twelve hours. Okay, maybe not, but it seemed that way. Have I mentioned that it was getting dark? And cold? And that we're out of hot chocolate? Finally, Junior yells "Timber!" And the stupid tree falls.
I don't know how that happened. One minute Junior was helping by pushing the tree, the next he was buried beneath it. And the tree was covered in ants. Which were now covering Junior.
So we get Junior out from under the tree, slap the ants off him and begin the task of carrying the tree up the hill. Look, it doesn't seem so bad when you are looking for a tree. You walk down the hill, find your tree and you are barely winded from your walk. But going uphill carrying an eleven-foot Christmas tree is something else entirely. Especially when Junior is helping.
You see, he's a boy. And there are lots of things on a tree farm for boys to look at. So just when you get a nice rhythm going, Junior suddenly drops his part of the tree to go look at a bird or a rock or a tree stump.
Finally, we give Junior the saw to carry. This is stupid. Never, ever give a child a weapon, no matter how rusty it is. We ended up dragging the tree up the hill, ducking every time Junior skipped by with the saw swinging behind him.
But we survived. We got the tree on the truck and it's now in the living room. And it was worth every swear word, every hour of cold and darkness without hot chocolate. It's a gorgeous tree. Even if it is a little crooked. And still covered with ants.
About Manic Motherhood: Laurie Sontag is the author of the popular humor blog, Manic Motherhood and has been a humor columnist for California newspapers since 2001. If you can't find her there, check under the sofa. She's not there, but she likes it when somebody else tries to find the lost socks and freak out the dust bunnies.