Remy Charlip: It Looks Like Snow , Young Scott Books, 1957 pp For John Cage via stopping off place via carnetimages
So perhaps those of us with kids have this vision.
It’s the nostalgia, romance of Christmas, the whole story, you get wrapped, you want it to be perfect, you want them to believe.
We can live the dream.
We as parents have a vision. It is all roughly the same one,
we fall madly in love,
I mean dizzy madly,
a while later have a nipper or two,
and voila, the christmas vision is
Family decorates the christmas tree, carols softly lulling in the back ground, wine on the mantle, kids under foot, decorating the tree.
Lights softly a glow, it’s a scene of love blurred only by the snow fall at the window.
And so you see,
we like you,
wanted a tree.
After all it is Christmas,
this the beginning of the month, so heck,
lets get value for money and get it now.
Husband say’s ‘but the needles will fall’,
I manage to fob him of with some goodness knows what,
that he actually listens too,
and off he goes, with not one, but both kids.
(I asked him if it was possible to buy eldest new trainers and rugby boots on the way, but there was muffled sounds I couldn’t make out.)
Off they go, together, I in tern have been given ten minutes of spare time to myself,
but however have been chosen to re arrange the lounge furniture to fit said tree in.
Clearly lifting furniture is no obstacle for me.
Five foot three I can do it all.
I did try my best, but I could hear them coming home,
from two streets away, so there I was at the front door,
greeting their excitement, smile and everything,
and noting my husbands reddened expression
(remember that dizzy madly love, remember that dizzy madly love, come on it’s in there some where, remember.)
Together, as a family we carry the tree and place it in the metal holder he had the foresight to re ensemble.
Then the straightening begins.
And for some reason it doesn’t stop.
Surly it is fine.
It is a tree.
A celebratory one at that.
It grows straight.
No. It. Has. to. be. straight.
it is straight.
First rule of thumb, apparently is the lights.
Husband and I eye each other.
I remember his eyes are blue.
I begin to wonder if I am in a Western.
Together we start to wind them round, around and around.
One, two, three, four sets of lights go on.
Seems simple, almost harmonious.
Husband looks up.
Four sets of lights means four plugs.
Off husband goes to the hardware store to buy an extension lead, and goodness knows what else.
So the lights are now on, never mind they are unlit, the kids are super excited.
Whooped into a delirious excitement I try hard to fathom, but I manage to go with it.
I am there, this is euphoria.
divide the decorations into colours/type. (yep, I know, but run with it) and together they start hanging, and my goodness, I think we have it, they are doing it and it actually looks great.
I am loving it.
(those of you with kids and no tree yet, it is fundamental to go with the colours/type strategy, goodness know how, but it works, unless you have an under three. )
So there I am, I am hanging, and I am singing,
I am even finding time for a bit of supping.
I am living the moment.
And then I realise.
The tree is sliding.
To the side.
In fact it is moving.
It is now at an angle, an acute angle.
I still think it looks fine, so I keep hanging, I want everything to be perfect, following suit my kids hang too.
That is until the husband returns.
He is tugging the tree one way, the branches, trying to get it straight, telling me to hold it, jamming things down the side, toys namely, into the base to make it sit the way he wants.
To me it is fine, I am living the dream, kids seem pretty happy too.
Together, we are living the dream.
So I continue to hang the decorations, ignoring the grunts.
Glossy eyed, I look up some twenty or so minutes later, to find I am the only one still living the dream.
Silently, as if they knew.
One by one they have gone.
Kids are upstairs playing, husband is asleep on armchair in kitchen (that was renegaded there due to trees arrival).
So I sit down for the first time in a long day.
I look at the tree.
And again I look at the tree.
And then oh my, I look at the tree.
You see I am alone, and as I look at the tree I realise I am the only one who knows that at head hight,
there is a whooping great hole in the tree of perfect foliage, all the way across,
there is a gap,
not just a hole, it covers the trees circumference,
as big as my head, plus my sons....
...and so I sit waiting for my husband to notice.