When the time comes to deck the halls, the modern mother might like to imagine venturing into a forest with a husband dressed in plaid, ax in hand. Their cheerful children would carol as they stomp through the snow, with rosy cheeks and frosty breath.
In reality, though, the process of taking a large woody plant from curbside to living room, can be, well, excruciating. For the suburban family, it may typically involve a cash exchange in a corner parking lot, some swearing and/or sweating as the tree is transported, multiple “straightenings” which require at least one adult person to lie belly down on the carpet, suffering a hailstorm of evergreen needles, which of course leads to more swearing. And all this, before a strand of lights or a single ornament have been added.
Once the tree is officially positioned, the modern mother can breathe a sigh of relief and let the melee begin. Nevermind, the tangled strings of lights, the crushed or broken ornaments, and/or the fact that all adornments will end up on the bottom third of the tree. Her children are laughing. They are remembering holidays of past years. Most importantly, they are not fighting.
As the ruckus proceeds, the well-mannered mother can collapse in a chair, hum along to some holiday music, look from the shining lights on the tree to the shining faces of her children, and marvel at how exhausting and exhilarating this business of mothering can be.
* photo from proforged via flickr