A Tale of Two Trees: A Lesson in Spontanaeity

We laughed the whole way home from the tree lot.

We had barely a year of marriage under our belt and one car to our name. She was an '84 Maxima equipped with a talking lady who informed us (repeatedly) when the door was ajar or the light was on. By the time '96 rolled around, she'd long replaced her chipper door status announcer voice with the dying battery demon voice.

"Dooooor eeeessss ajjoooooaaa," talking lady told us as we sputtered home with a Christmas tree in our back seat.

Branches back-stabbed us for calling shot-gun. With needled arms stretched through the sun roof and out both windows, if ever a tree could be embarrassed, this was the time. (Oh no. A totally hip Spruce just drove by in a perfect netting tied to a roof rack, and here I am squished in the back seat of a beater. Just great. I'm never gonna live this down.)

We scooted our seats so far up we could barely sit, let alone drive. Oh, and we couldn't see out the back.
And we couldn't stop laughing.

No twine, no roof rack, no plan of attack. We just showed up, bought the tree, shrugged our shoulders and looked at the bright side. Because what better than pine needles to temporarily displace the gross old car smell?


Now we do things a bit differently. For the last eight years, we've carried on a tradition of cutting down our own tree. We come prepared. We have morphed into the perfect Spruce family.

But the truth is, we aren't the perfect family, Spruce or otherwise. Dani was obstinate and unpleasant yesterday. Caed was hyper and would not (for the love!) stop eating snow. Larry was stressed out and not in the mood to play Christmas lumberjack. And I was in the I'll-force-this-nice-family-memory-if-it's-the-last-thing-I-ever-do! mode.

It wasn't that great. We would have been better off stuffing a pre-cut tree into the backseat and laughing all the way home.

But tonight, unplanned and unforced, tonight was the gift. We spontaneously decorated the tree, wearing the most mismatched jammies you've ever seen. The kids giggled as they hung the picture ornaments.

"That was me when I was Dani's age? I'm not sure about that. I think it looks more like my cousin."

"Oh, dis one's mines! I'm an angel in dat one!"

Tonight, unplanned and unforced, tonight when Mommy and Daddy's eyes met, it wasn't to roll them.

It was to trade knowing smiles, to make sure we were both getting this, soaking it in, calling it the gift that it most certainly was--a sweet, un-manufactured family memory.

Linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped hosted by Emily of Chatting at the Sky, where we hunt for gifts in the everyday mess.

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