Monday, December 19, 2005

#99 - O Christmas Tree; O Christma... Hey! Watch Out for the Train!

Don't ask why, but we finally got the tree decorated last night. Yes, I know... most folks - even the ones who buy real trees every year - have had theirs up and decorated since shortly after Thanksgiving. We've actually had ours up for a solid couple of weeks, but we just haven't been able to scrape together enough time (plus health, plus energy) to finish decorating. So, last night I got out the boxes. This ended both our dearth of festive adornments, and my limited stores of energy.

The girls, on the other hand, were transported into that enviable mixture of fantasy and imagination that seems to carry with it an independent energy source. This is the type of energy that has goaded inventors throughout the centuries to attempt to create that pinnacle of crypto-engineering: the Perpetual Motion Machine. This is also the type of energy that exhausts parents who are forced to try to keep up for fear that something will get knocked over and they (the parents) will have to clean it all up.

All this by way of telling you that the girls were wired last night. But we also reached a fun little milestone last night; one that I wasn't expecting to reach, really, for another couple of years or so. The girls decorated the tree all by themselves.

It was by no means intended that way. We had two aims last night: decorate the tree, and decorate (at a minimum) the family room and the dining room. To do both of these things properly, Daddy has to haul out every one of our storage boxes full of decorations, even if we only plan to use half of them. So, while I was busy digging out such things as our stockings, stocking hangers, and assorted mantle-shelf paraphenalia, Mrs. Woody was busy digging out the decorations we wanted placed on the tree. Rather than make Daddy wait to finish the rooms until the tree was done, she simply handed things to the Woodyettes and had them decorate the tree. It was the most natural thing in the world, and the girls did a terrific job.

Well, mostly, anyway. Once Daddy got a good look at their work, he noticed a few bald spots (Daddy knows all about bald spots) and some extreme clumping of decorations in strategic places. So there may be a small amount of "adjustment" when I get home tonight. But the point is, the girls did it, and they had a wonderful time. For Daddy it meant saving my finite lower-back energy reserves for the heavier lifting duties, most of which involved a step-ladder. Also, I only had to worry a couple of times about such things as crushing our Christmas Choo-Choo that runs around the tree, and which the girls never seem to notice as they run up to the tree to place the 27th ornament on exactly the same branch. Except for those close calls, the night was amazingly stress free.

It's really not much of an exaggeration to state that within minutes after the decorating party ended, the girls were so completely deflated that I was quite sure they would soak their sleep-shirts for all the whining that we heard before finally tucking them into bed. Mommy and Daddy were pretty exhausted, too. Mommy had been sitting in a position that put extra strain on her legs and knees. Daddy had to return all the storage boxes to the shed and put the shed back in order. Considering I didn't drag the boxes out until after 9:00 last night, finishing and getting everyone in bed by midnight was really quite remarkable.

So a new tradition arises for the Woodys. Next year (and for many years to come) the Woodyettes will decorate the tree. They may occasionally allow Mommy and Daddy to assist, but the job is now theirs. They'll get better at it as each year passes, and Mommy will have fun helping them to do themed decorations as they get older. We already have enough train or snowflake ornaments to do an entire theme of either type on our tree. Other traditions will, of course, be created as time passes beneath us. We will enjoy them all.

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's pow'r when we were gone astray.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

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