I’m wondering if I would be considered a bad mother if I didn’t decorate the tree this year. It’s up. The lights are on it, but aside from what the kids made this week in church, it’s bare. It’s horrible to say, but I feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. All the boxes will have to be brought out, the time it’s going to take to decorate, the ornaments that will shatter as a multitude of excited hands reach into the box before I can stop them. The time could really be put to better use. I could do a few home school lessons with the kids. Better yet, I could put on a movie for them and take a nap. I know that most of you would graciously offer me a reprieve for six reasons…
The fact that Sadie just turned a year last month and has begun to walk along the furniture and crawl every where deters me a bit. Although absolutely adorable with her six-tooth smile, she likes to get into things. I can imagine her un-decorating the bottom quarter of our tree and squealing with delight as she eats a snowman ornament’s head.
Vance is two and half. Need I say more? He keeps me busy any time his eyes are open. Even with the tree barren, he has tried to climb it and throws his dragons and dinosaurs in it from across the room. He is no longer the pudgy toddler of last Christmas, but is more like a stout linebacker ready to take out whoever or whatever gets in his way, trees included. Already a great portion of my day is spent trying to clean up behind hurricane Vance before Sadie taste tests the wreckage, and vacuuming the artificial needles that fall off our fake California tree. What's a few ornaments to the mix?
Keely at four is very motherly. She probably would do okay with our version of the tannenbaum and would cuddle and sing lullabies to every baby Jesus ornament we own. She would also “watch” over Sadie to ensure she stays out of the tree, but her doting is more stifling than the most smothering mother. I pray every day that the old saying proves true that what doesn’t kill Sadie will make her stronger.
I don’t think Ryleigh, who turns six the day after Christmas, would be a problem either. I think her main concern at this point are the presents under the tree. Her Christmas list this year consists of shoes, skinny jeans, and jewelry. I would be concerned if she had a shallow fashion attitude to accompany her love for all things shiny, but she has a heart as big as her smile. I may have to watch that she doesn’t re-purpose the smaller ornaments into earrings.
Brynna is 10 and can be a huge help. I could task her with decorating the tree with the children, but fights would surely ensue. She has always had leadership qualities, but her leadership skills seem to resemble that of Attila the Hun than that of Ronald Regan when dealing with her sisters. She is very creative when it comes to decorating and has a style all of her own, so the tree would definitely be lovely and unique.
Jace at 13, would help decorate if I asked. He is becoming more of a teenager in regards to not wanting to partake in all our Christmas traditions, but is more than willing to help the little ones when they need him. Recently it seems as if he is growing into a young man, or rather a young Brian. With his improving height he could reach the higher branches and help even out the ornaments so that the bottom and middle are not the only areas decorated. Better yet, he could help me see the lighter side of things as he makes jokes about the younger children’s antics.
Even with the older children’s help, decorating the tree just seems like one more thing to add to the to-do list and for what, to take it down in a few weeks? Who am I kidding, last year the tree came down in February. Regardless, as I sit here looking at the unobstructed white lights and the symbol of the season, I know my list is selfish. Selfishness, the antithesis of Christmas, the holiday all about love and sacrifice. It’s the antithesis of parenting too. I must sacrifice my own agenda and list of lame excuses and whip out the boxes of ornaments. After all, in the grand scheme of things what am I really sacrificing in comparison to the true sacrifice made for me, for us? Jesus. I’m so glad he did it. I’m sure I’ll be glad I decorated the tree too. Their giggles as we tell the stories associated with the ornaments, the tears as I sweep up the shards of glass, and looking at our haphazardly adorned evergreen will be worth it.