|Ma! I like this one!|
In the days when the Husband and I were oh so very new with this parenting gig, we thought it paramount to put our personal spin on the family Christmas traditions. You know, the warm and fuzzy memories of his suburban childhood mixed gently with my rustic farm livin’ upbringing. (Alternatively called “You’re Not Doing That Right.”) Then we would offer up these experiences for the kid’s memories. And someday when he has his own family, he will carry these traditions with him and tell his kids, when I was little, my rents . . .
It seemed like a wonderful idea, we thought.
So the first Christmas after the kid became self-aware, we donned him in his winter gear and rumbled off in the Ford pick-up for the local Christmas tree farm. Let’s go cut down our own tree! we exclaim, we’re gonna make you some memories today, son.
We park the truck and drag toddler boy out for his first ever tree hunt. Dang, we say, pulling on our gloves and stamping our feet, it’s flippin’ cold out here.
Fuzz-lined gloves are poised above our eyes in an attempt to see clearly out into the fields of evergreen. We discover our conifer of choice, the soft-needled white pine, is . . . where? Holy cow, really? Well, that’s gonna be a hike. Maybe we should have packed a lunch.
But no matter, we’re actually in pretty good shape to get out there. Got our walking shoes on and dressed warmly enough. We’ve got time and the attitude to do this.
We had an affectionate nickname for the kid at this phase in his young life. When my cuddle bunny melted into a hungry, thirsty, and tired toddler, he was referred to as Bio-Boy. And two-thirds of the way out to the north forty we found ourselves challenged with the insistent biological needs of a toddler. (Where’s the diaper bag? Ah, back in the truck. greeaat . . .) I scoop up my little adorable bio bundle and we trod on with a renewed sense of purpose to find the Perfect Tree for this year’s Christmas memories.
Husband says, how ’bout this one? I dunno, the needles are a little yellow on the ends. This one? Don’t you think the trunk is too crooked? He grips the handle of the hacksaw perhaps a wee too tight. Right. How’s this one look to you? Are you kidding? Look at that big bare spot! Alrighty. This one? It’s not, well, piney enough.
Ok, look, says the Husband. You know what? I believe you. The Perfect Tree is out there. But, as luck would have it, it’s not actually at this particular tree farm. Please just pick a tree so I can hack the thing down and drag it back over the twenty acres we just walked.
Oh, but I can’t! I can’t choose from any of these inferior coniferous twig beings. I’m not often accused of having high standards, but these pines are just not the stuff of memory making. Sorry, my brave knights, I have failed you. And with hanging heads and lowered standards, we tromp back on numbing feet to the farm entrance. You know, I sigh with resignation, that tree lot at the grocery might have something nice.
We walk past the barn when we notice, well, there’s a barn. Has this been here the whole time? Huh. And through the open barn doors (snicker, sorry), there appears before us a gallery of evergreen, freshly cut and hanging in neat rows. Firs, scotch pine, white pines – all green and straight and full and all piney smelling. They’re perfect, the whole lot of them! I walk in to hug a beautiful tree, exclaiming too loudly, I love it! Toss that hacksaw aside, we’ve found our destiny tree!
I know what you’re thinking. You saw that photo of the kid at the top, didn’t you? In spite of my seasonal zealousness, the kid was way too young to really retain any memories of this ill-fated tree hunt of his toddler youth. And that’s for the best, I think, as the parental dialog was getting a little salty out there on the tundra.
But now, my favorite kid has outgrown me and is off to college. And the Husband and I are left behind to carry on the holiday traditions we started as a young family. With a different flavor these days, though. We no longer have the Ford S-10; we now rumble to the tree farm in extended cab GMC. And instead of the kid, we take a dog.
Not that we replaced the kid with a dog. It’s important to keep that clear, he keeps reminding me.
|Gotcher holiday spirit right here, Micron says.|
Yax, my love, I exclaim, put on your working cape and let’s go make us some Christmas memories!
The mighty Micron was our furry and festive tree hunter last Christmas (photo, right). Before we left for the tree farm, he pulled Yaxley aside to give him some pointers on how to get the job done.
Kid, he says, Pick the first one you see.
Great. Thanks a lot, Micron. Now, please turn off the TV and bring up the box of decorations from the basement, will you?
So it’s a gorgeous, sunny December afternoon. Perfect weather for tree shopping. And so we rumble off to the tree lot with Yaxley all jazzed and ready to hunt him some evergreen.
Sniff, snuffle, says Yaxley, here it is! Got one!
|My job here is done.|
Yaxley, this is indeed a lovely choice, I say, but since the tree is laying right here at the entrance, it probably already belongs to someone else. Let’s dig a little deeper into the lot, shall we?
Luck is ours and we find a beautiful white pine without any fuss or muss. I send the Husband to the other side to untie the thing from the post. Which end do you want, he asks. Which end do I want for what? You mean to carry? Don’t they have people for that? Ugh, I get The Look. Alright, lemme have the top part. It looks lighter than that big thing on the other end. You mean the trunk? Yeah, that.
|I’m watching it just like you said, Food Lady.
What’s it supposed to be doing?
|Yup, we untied it ourselves.|
Next step is dragging this piney carcass into the house and the joyful joint effort of putting the thing in the tree stand, which is not as bad as wallpapering a room together.
Last Christmas Yaxley was a newborn pup, so we’re sensitive to these new experiences. While he’s trying to wrap his yellow noggin around the phenomena of an outdoor smelling thing planted into a big water bowl, Micron pulls him aside.
This is funny, Micron says. Watch the Food Lady when I drink from the big water bowl. heh heh. Now you try it. See, she sounds just like the red squeaky ball, doesn’t she?
|And then you put lights on it?|
And so continues our holiday traditions.
This will be our fourth Christmas with a CCI puppy in our home. In 2008, we celebrated the season with the lovely Inga. This gorgeous pup was five months old on her first Christmas.
Inga shares her wish list with Santa, while the jolly elf wishes she’d move that front paw from his, um, chestnuts.
We brought home the mighty Micron the week before Thanksgiving in 2009. A ridiculously adorable puppy that looks like he smells like sugar cookies. As is turns out, it’s actually a scent reminiscent of mushroom soup, but that didn’t dampen the warm welcome into our home.
All this puppy goodness was too much to keep under the radar, though. The mighty Micron has graced the Canine Companions for Independence holiday cards two years in a row. And his handsome puppy mug has been included in the 2011 and 2012 CCI Calendars.
Just the way timing worked out, we enjoyed a second Christmas season with Micron in 2010.
And he continues to be the life of the party.
I didn’t bother to send this next photo in to CCI.
And now that this cuddlebug is a CCI college drop-out, we find ourselves blessed to have yet another Christmas with him. Just proof that we must’ve done something good to get this kind of karma happening for us.
More on that later. But now, I need to check on the tree. I think the cat just discovered it.
That picture with Yaxley under the tree is just stunning! Thanks for sharing!