If you haven’t noticed the three year old crying his eyes out in the back ground, go ahead and look again. It was a day built up of joy and merriment that was capsized by a tyrant, a small tree dictator of sorts. It was a fail. It was a bust. And later, much later, it was hilarious. The six year old’s expectations were also quickly met with distaste as he hated the choice of the Christmas tree. I tried to sneak away on a trail with my jolly worker daughter, but couldn’t in good faith leave my husband with the B team of the day. I remember thinking, ‘Wait, isn’t this supposed to be like the movies where everyone is gloriously singing and a light shines from the sky down on the perfect Christmas tree in the woods?
We hiked up and all over our property, searching for THAT moment and sure it would bond us together as most of our outdoor adventures tend to do. I tried to sing Christmas songs- but the little tree tyrant started crying right out of the gates because his shoe fell off in some moose poop. It was a travesty. We made it over one ridge and like a woman in mourning, whaling in the woods, the little tyrant kept crying: because his brother got to hold the saw, because I let go of his sweaty little hand on accident, because his sister was in the front of the line, and because he wanted to cut three Christmas Trees down instead of one. At one point, I was able to ditch him with my husband so I could hike ahead, but then I looked back surprised at the silence and noticed my husband gave him the saw just to keep him quiet. I was like, ‘he could stab someone with that’. Then I was spotted and then I had to carry him through the woods, while he totally lost it over not being able to carry the saw. Here are pictures of this situation:
I was desperately looking for ‘that tree’ so that the misery of family tree hunting would be over. I yelled, ‘cut this one down, it’s good enough’. Did I mention we were hauling 4 saws-alls through the woods? Balancing 4 of those and a three year old is quite the feat. Long story short, we ended up cutting three trees down after all so that each kid could get a chance to cut a tree down, and the first two were terrible choices made in a time of desperation. But the tree was not my only concern at the time…
You know how in those same Christmas movies the family is hiking through the snow and it smells like fresh pine trees and Christmas cookies? Well this time, after recently talking with a friend about how I wanted to see a cougar in the woods, I thought for sure I was smelling a cougar. My friend informed me they smell like rotten meat, like stank death. Everywhere we hiked, I smelled it- like an animal stalking us while we wrecked all possible moments of peace in the woods. I came across a deer skelleton and then some trees that looked like they had been pushed over. ‘Babe, what do you think pushed this over? Do you think it was a C-O-U-G-A-R?’ He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, ‘The Wind. Seriously? Do you not see the dogs running all around us and the kids yelling?’
So there I was, cougar scouting, three-year-old crying, dogs running off, six-year old unsatisfied, hauling 4 saws-alls up the hills, and ready for a melt down. But that’s when I started laughing. The pictures above say it all: sometimes, this is just real life. Sometimes, you just have to cry in the woods- no better place to cry actually. Sometimes, you can’t force your family to be the perfect movie-type family with their fake grins and false joy in their hearts. I laughed, took pictures of the scene, then we made it to the car for hot chocolate…but I only brought one coffee mug which turned into a sick sort of social psychology experiment as I let the kids take turns drinking from the same cup and analyzed. My little angel daughter was polite the entire day until sugar was on the table, then she wanted her share for sure. The smell of death was even by the car, and the strangest thing happened later down the dirt road, it followed us in the car and later found it was smeared all over one of my dogs….Stupid cougars leaving death in the woods. I’m just sure it was a coug.
Hey look, I caught the grouches smiling. It was kind of creepy actually, the littlest was crying then all of a sudden I looked down and he was smiling and laughing really hard. ‘Satan, get out of these woods’!
Ho ho ho…. Just be yourselves this Christmas, be honest about what you can take on, about what you are trying to force your kids to pretend to be, about where the true joy of Christmas really comes from. I would say it’s not in the gifts, but in the experiences and the moments where we take time to just love each other where we are at and let those creative moments happen, even if it ends up a disaster.
The tree tyrant crying because he wants 3 Christmas Trees:Christmas Tree Sorrows
Side note: trees were harmed during this episode, however the trees sacrificed for the one we took home were re-homed or added to the slash pile to trap cougars. #treesrock #sorrytrees #sorrywoodsforwhatyouheard