We had planned to get our Christmas tree on Saturday but it was rainy so we postponed the adventure until Sunday afternoon when it was supposed to be sunny. It was not sunny. It was not rainy but it was not sunny. It also was not snowing which would have made "not sunny" acceptable as it would have been festive for Christmas tree shopping. Still, we persevered.
We told the kids to get their shoes on so that we could go get our Christmas tree. We were excited. We assumed they would be excited. Christmas trees are exciting, right?
Zeca was putting on her shoes slowly, as if we had said, "Hey! Put your shoes on because there is a small group of villagers waiting for your outside with tar and feathers!" Miguel lumbered into the foyer and said, "Can I stay home and watch football? I'm fine with whatever tree you pick out?"
This wasn't how it was supposed to be! They were so supposed to be eager and joyful and there should have been sugar plums dancing in their heads. Their whole demeanor suggested a serious lack of sugar plums.
"WHAT?" I yelled. "YOU WANT TO STAY HOME AND WATCH FOOTBALL?" I shouted. After consulting my parenting handbook, I was fairly certain that this response to Christmas tree shopping was not supposed to happen until adolescence. Luisa was frustrated at the general lack of enthusiasm and said, "Maybe we should just forget it..." "WHAT?" I yelled. "WE CAN'T JUST FORGET IT!" I shouted.
When faced with the possibility of not getting the Christmas tree, Zeca flew into action and finished tying her shoes and put her jacket on and was ready to go. Miguel just stared at me and said, "It's just a tree, mom. It's not a big deal." The tree may not be a big deal but him refusing to go get the tree seemed like a big deal.
I took a deep breath and said evenly, "You are going. Put your shoes on right now and grab your coat." He sighed heavily and did as he was told and we all got into the car.
I know that I should have left it alone. I should have considered his reluctant participation a victory and led us all in a rousing chorus of "Jingle Bells" but I felt that I needed to impart wisdom. I should really stay away from the imparting of wisdom because I sound like a television parent from the 1950's. Remember the arts?
So, as we drove to the Christmas tree lot, I told him about the building blocks of childhood and the importance of rituals and how time with family helps create the narrative about our past and then I threw in some sad tales from my parents' divorce and the redeeming moments I shared with them at Christmas and then I circled back to his issue with Christmas tree shopping and how it was important because we are creating his past and he won't always be a kid and these times we have now won't last forever and then Jimmy Stewart popped into the car and declared it to be a wonderful life! I then turned to look at him in the back seat and he was blowing bubbles with his gum and he said, "Yes, mom. I know." I asked if he had anything to add and he said, "I don't really think you can blow a bubble inside of a bubble like you said you could. I think the bubbles are just side by side."
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
"Yes, I can blow a bubble inside a bubble and when I have the right gum I will show you."