Friday, December 21, 2007

Decorating with Boys

Like most children, my boys begin begging on Thanksgiving Day to pull out the Christmas decorations. However, apparently unlike most moms, I am not so big on decorating. The chaos of all the boxes coming out and all the little hands digging in overwhelms me so I tend to put it off. But more precisely, it starts with the trip through the 3' tall linen closet (which involves moving all linens, bags, bins, etc. stored therein) into the attic.

The attic... like many I suppose... is dusty and gloomy and most certainly full of living creatures of the 8-legged variety. Fortunately for me, I have boys who LOVE going into the attic. Of course.

Well now that my boys are older, they beg daily for the go ahead to take on this dreaded part of the job themselves. Once I was done painting, the day finally arrived. Since my attic expert was at school, I let 13 yo and 10 yo take over this exhilarating job with carefully repeated instructions to only retrieve a couple of the red and green boxes plus the box of ornaments as we were not going to go too crazy this year since it was late and we still have construction and painting going on. Two or three boxes. Only.

Now I was busy that morning... I'm not sure doing what... and actually it's driving me a bit crazy now that I can't remember. I wasn't knitting or on the computer. No, I was in the kitchen... but not baking or addressing Christmas cards... but doing something that I know had to be done. And apparently it was done and done well because I have no idea what it was now. At any rate, knowing that my 13 yo is extremely responsible, I let them carry on with their plans while paying very little attention myself.

Yep... they were in charge. There was a time when I was sure that our most consistent Christmas tradition would be me yelling, "Don't touch! What did I just tell you?! Leave that alone!" while we decorated. I knew this wasn't really my goal, but the very anal, controlling, only-child core of my being could not handle such commotion. Clearly, 15 years as a mother of boys has crumbled broken destroyed mellowed me, because I am finally pretty much able to take a step back.

After a couple of hours, my alertness was perked when my youngest boys began showing me 40 year old magnetic puzzles from my childhood they had found. A quick search revealed that my 13 yo had abandoned the project completely and my 10 yo had found a treasure trove of old coins that he was sorting through in his room. It is at this point that I realize that what appears to be every single box has been pulled out of the attic and is forming an obstacle course throughout the house. (I really tune things out when I'm involved.)

Remarkably, this doesn't sit well with me and my almost-forgotten tradition of yelling kicked in. "Why? What? Why aren't you decorating? What do you mean you don't feel like it? Move! Get to work! Get it out of here!" After some discussion over the meaning of "a couple of red & green boxes", they began to return boxes to the attic. However, once I was able to walk through the house again, I realized that the only decorations that were out were the ones that my 5 and 8 year olds had unpacked from random boxes when they weren't playing with my old toys. Clearly their requirement for selecting decorations was very specific... if it came out of a red and green box, it was a decoration, complete in and of itself. So, after a whole day of chaos and clutter, let me take you on a tour of my humble home...

So far so good....
Of course, all of the most fragile items were unpacked... along with a few presents that belong with something.

And tell me... what says Christmas like an American flag? Every time I look at it I think of Clark Griswold asking Aunt Bethany to say grace at Christmas dinner.
But my favorite displays by far would have to be serious Santa standing along side this single wise man. (Apparently they had begun to lose interest before unpacking any of the other pieces of the 3 or more Nativity sets we have... but I have seen a plastic Baby Jesus around somewhere.)

I think I need to move the American flag next to these guys to complete the scene. What do you think?

Oh well. The kids are happy, my job was minimal, and we aren't on the schedule for any holiday tours so I'm just enjoying our under-decorated tree (they accidentally re-packed one of the ornament boxes as well) and fresh paint.

And so I'll knit. The back of Twist is finished and I'm working on the front now. Fun, fun.

Merry frantic days before Christmas!


passingdowncrazy said...

Honey, I mean this as a high compliment. You.are.nuts! Actually my kids decorated this year too, but some of them are older and some are girls.

sophanne said...

The best moms are the ones who can let those kids do the kid things. You'll have these photos to share with their families well into the future! I think it's really cool. Of course, I have no children.

mom said...

Ohmigoodness...I smiled the whole time I read! BTDT and sometimes you just have to let go and laugh!

Actually, I see the pictures of your smiling little boys and I think to myself "gee, mine used to be that little once upon a time!" and there's a moment of sadness at how fast time passes. Boys are cool fun.period.

Tammy ~@~

km said...

I'm so glad we don't have an attic. And right now most of our decoration are the Little People variety. So, it doesn't really matter what the kids get into. You're a brave mom!

GailV said...

Oooooh, Twist is beautiful in that yarn. Why oh why did I choose plain ol' Cascade 220 for mine?

And if the kids are happy with the Christmas decor, who really cares what anyone else thinks. It isn't as if the Martha Stewart police are going to show up at your door.