I’m not going to put on my rose-colored glasses and tell you that it was a perfect day. There was bickering – both John and I and the kids. There was tired crankiness – also from both adults and kids. There were kids diving into boxes of Christmas ornaments that they shouldn’t have been touching and a mama getting beyond frustrated. An intended staple, cozy dinner of chili that sort of missed the mark on the right chili flavor.
But the general sentiment? BEST.CHRISTMAS.DAY.EVER. Seriously. It ranks as one of my most favorite days we’ve ever had, especially together as a family. Going to pick and cut down my own tree has been high on my list of Life Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do. We always had a real tree when I was a kid, but never went and cut it down. I don’t even remember going to pick it, I think one of my parents always brought it home. We have also, in our 8 years together and 5.5 years of marriage, never had a real tree. We’ve had trees, fake trees, and I’ve always been fine with that.
But then my friend Molly told me a few months ago about a tree farm that she and her family visit every year the day after Thanksgiving and take a horse-drawn wagon ride out to the field to pick and cut their own tree and I decided that we were going there.
I originally intended to just go and do the sleigh ride with the kids and visit Santa and see trains and decorations, but a few weeks ago I thought about it and, even though we have our fake tree in the basement, asked John if he’d be up for a real tree. He’s not exactly Mister Optimistic in life. Well, maybe that’s not a fair term. He’s a Realist. Very much so. So when I suggested it, he resisted – it would be cold, messy, we already have a tree, it would fall over, we’d have needles everywhere…
You’ve seen the pictures above. You know he was proven wrong and blown clear out of the water by the awesomeness, right?
We must’ve made eye contact over little jumping-squealing-with-excitement kids’ heads and smiled at least a half a dozen times. That quiet I-Love-Them-So-Much-I-Could-Just-Squeeze-Them smile that I share only with him. The sweetness of it all was not lost on us. The time together. The cold air making cheeks rosy. The laughing at ourselves that we didn’t think logically that we were going out into a field of trees and should’ve worn some footwear that was a little more appropriate. Mittened hands. The wagon ride. The shy smiles when visiting Santa. A barn gift shop with trees and decorations. Wreaths and boughs and red bows. The constant 2-year-old excited squeals of, “YAY! It’s Titmastime!” Stopping at the little restaurant nearby for grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch on the way home. Naps all around. Putting ornaments on the tree. Dinner with the tree lit. Kids asking about each ornament and laying under the tree looking up at the lights.
It was good stuff. Really, really good stuff.