Remember all that amazing behaving I told you about that my kids did while we were on the Appalachian Trail? Remember how I told you they all got along and didn’t complain and had a fantastic attitude?
Yeah well, that behavior was soul suckingly absent when we went to get a Christmas tree last Saturday. Like, non existent. Like, at one point I thought ‘these are the most ill behaved children on the face of the earth.’
For real, it was bad. I don’t know. I think part of the problem can be blamed on me. I have REALLY high expectations every year when we go to get our tree. When I was a kid we had mind blowingly awesome Christmases. And I know I’m bragging here but it’s my birthday so…so there. Our Christmases were just crazy good.
When I was little when it came time to get our tree we would just walk out our back door and into the woods where we would find the biggest cedar we could. We’d cut it down and drag it back home where Mom would be waiting for us with hot chocolate. Y’all my parents nailed it at Christmas. And Spring. And Summer. And, of yeah, Fall. My Mom would stand on the back porch and put up this big show about how the tree was too big and it wasn’t going to fit. It was always a time I remember my parents being ‘cute’ together. And no one ever argued or complained…at least, that’s how I remember it. Now, granted I’m the absolute best at always remembering things way better than they were but, regardless, it was a really special time every year.
So, having read that, ya think I might have some unrealistic expectations of how perfect our yearly trip to the tree farm should be? Oh yeah, definitely. Last Saturday was busy but we had just enough time to squeeze in a trip to Trim a Tree in Athens to get a tree.
As we loaded everyone up in the car the complaining started. ‘I want to play the X-Box.’ ‘It’s too cold.’ ‘Can you just leave me here?’ and so on and so forth. Even Stella was complaining.
I knew that my hopes were too high to start with but, for the love, I don’t expect perfection but I would like to be able to go without listening to kids complain about HAVING TO DO SOMETHING FUN!
I got so upset at the little miscreants that I yelled something along the lines of ‘we’re creating happy memories here! Be glad about it!’ in a really MEAN tone.
If you think that’s bad you should have seen Billy! He got so mad he pulled the car over and yelled something so horrible at Henry that I’ve flat out blocked it from my mind! Seriously, I have no clue what he said. We felt bad – we’d gone too far. The kids felt bad – they knew they’d gone too far.
It was just downright ugly.
Billy stopped the car AGAIN and apologized to everyone as so did I. The kids apologized and Stella piped up from the back ‘Daddy, you weren’t using self control.’ Self control is a big word with the preschool set. So, thanks for that Mrs Ford.
So when everything goes wrong you’ve got two options: abandon ship or plug the leak. This time we chose to try and plug the leak. We continued on to Athens with raw and wounded hearts but determined to give each other grace and the gift of new beginnings.
And, ya know what? It worked. I don’t know whether it was the fresh air or the fresh attitudes but when we got there everyone was a whole lot happier.
I don’t know. Probably the best I can hope for is that they remember that the car WAS pulled over twice. The first for grief and the second for grace.