Whine: Two words–blogging drought. (Don’t worry, it’s not for lack of material.)
Cheese: Homemade Cheddar Jack Queso. Mmmmmmmmmm.
When you were a kid, did you have a Magic Memory Filter? You know, the thing that makes you remember sitting rosy-cozy with your family by the fire while Dad reads the Christmas story or decorating festive sugar-cookies with Grandma in a hazy, yellow glow. If you look back at your childhood memories and get the same feeling as you do when you watch the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, you know you had a Magic Memory Filter, because in reality, it was probably a little more like A Christmas Story**. You know, dogs eating the Christmas turkey, receiving really random, inappropriate gifts from distant relatives, and people getting their tongues stuck to frozen flagpoles.
I have a few of those rosy-cozy memories myself, I have to admit. But now that I am the Mommy (i.e., the one responsible for orchestrating said rosy-cozy memories) I realize that all of my memories that come with a rosy glow must have passed through The Filter, because I’ve discovered that any event involving children looks less idyllic and peaceful and more chaotic and tornadic. Norman Rockwell? My kids? More like Norma Wreckwells.
Childhood Memory: One of my favorite Christmas memories/traditions was going to get a real, live Christmas tree. My dear, sweet saint of a single mother obliged me every single year, even though it was almost the death of her. I remember hiking through pristine snow and getting to choose my very own tree. We then cut it down and brought it home to decorate, the scent of fresh pine emanating through our cozy apartment.
What Really Happened: We bring the tree home and it won’t fit in the stand. Undeterred, my mom bundles me back up (it was winter in Michigan) and throws me in the car, drags me to the store and bought a new stand. We get home and try again. The tree still won’t fit. Mom’s starting to get just a tad frustrated now. Somehow she comes up with a saw. I don’t remember where it came from, but I’m sure it involved either going to another store or calling up a friend. While she’s sawing off the offending branches, I’m in the bathroom and the toilet is not working. Mom comes in to investigate, removes the lid from the tank, drops it and it splits in half. My mom says a few things that if I’d been smart I’d have saved for leverage at a later date. Finally, after much ado, we fix the toilet (mostly), stuff what is surely by now “that darned tree” into the stand and decorate it, and collapse into bed.
Fast forward twenty-some years and now I’m the Mommy (aka the Memory Maker) and I’ve got a plan.
Intended Memory: In my minds eye, we all go out to a farm and choose the perfect tree. It’s chilly, but I’ve got hot chocolate in a thermos in the truck. As Mr. Dad loads the tree in the truck, we listen to Christmas carols and sing together. We drive home then decorate, reflecting on the Reason for Christmas.
What Really Happened: We load into the truck and head to the local mega-hardware store. We choose a tree from the pile (and it is a looker, I must say), but the checkout line is long and its cold out there, so the kids and I head inside to find warmth. Big Sis finds a display of enchanting (and by enchanting I mean debilitatingly intrustive) singing snowglobes. She entertains herself by pressing the button on each snowglobe one at a time so they are singing in perfect disharmony and every time one goes off she has to restart it and between the six snowglobes she’s pretty much pusing buttons every 3 seconds and the “music” of each individual snowglobe is trying to wedge its way into my memory bank so that I’m singing six different carols at once and can’t get any of them out of my head. And then when it’s time to leave and make that special memory of getting a Christmas tree she’s screaming and hyperventilating because she really desperately needed at least one of those delightful snowglobes. She screams all the way home, even though I keep turning the volume of the Christmas songs higher and higher. And when we finally get home and stop crying (her, not me), I make the hot chocolate, but it gets cold because there’s a hungry baby, two time-outs and a potty emergency.
But I realize now that I’ve got biology on my side, because we did manage to get ourselves into our snuggly footie pajamas (I’ve got a pair, too) just in time for Mr. Dad to plug in the lights and sip some hot chocolate. And the moment he lit up those twinkly lights on that gorgeous tree, Big Sis’ eyes did the same and the Magic Memory Filter kicked into action.
I just spoke with my mother regarding the aforementioned Christmas tree debacle. She alerted me to the fact that I left out the most imporant part of the story. After she finally managed to saw off some of the bottom of the tree to make it fit, she realized too late that the tree possessed a double trunk. So once she cut it, our gorgeous, hand-picked Christmas tree split in two. I didn’t remember that part, but now all I can say is HAHAHAHAHHAHA! (Sorry, Mom.) So apparently we stuffed both halves of our once-glorious tree into the stand, propped it up against the wall and called it a day. Just further proof that The Filter exists.
**If you haven’t seen A Christmas Story, it’s about a young boy, Ralphie, who really wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. The classic line from the movie is when Ralphie finally gets the gumption to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas and Santa shoves him off his lap and says “You’ll shoot yer’ eye out, kid.”