Over the weekend, Chris and Eva and I were at a stop light at an intersection across from a Behemoth of a Vehicular Monstrosity (BVM) with a Christmas tree bungeed to the top. All appeared normal at that angle, and I smiled, as I do when I see families preparing to deck their halls. The light turned, and the BVM turned left in front of us to reveal the smallest most pathetic Christmas tree ever, giving the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree a real run for its money. Chris and I were like “Whaaaaaat” and Eva giggled. I said “Wow, THAT is a story I want to know more about.” Chris, ever practical and maniacally tidy, said “It’s so they don’t get needles in the car.” I retorted “What needles?!” What few there were would probably blow off by the time they got home.
Whatever their reasons for putting a branch on top of a vehicle just short of a Hummer Stretch Limo, it got me thinking about the year of the Overcompensating Christmas Tree. My Mom had died in early December and I was sad. Christmas was her THING and our family has a history of trees that defied laws of logic, sanity and gravity which required my father’s best Mcguyver-esque maneuvers to transport them and erect them safely in our living room. And I am totally air quoting “safely”. Both of my parents were gone now, my sister Robin was staying with us to take care of Eva who was 3 years old at the time, and I decided that Christmas would go on in a BIG way for my family, dammit!! So I went out and got the biggest tree I could find.
The first time it fell, it was during the night and my sister had the daunting job of breaking the news to me in the morning, complete with a roster of the Dead and Decapitated ornaments. According to her, I walked into the bathroom after the shower with a wet towel in my hand and was set to blow dry my hair. Apparently when she gave me the news, I simply put the towel over my head and face and walked right back out, wordlessly.
During this dreadful time, Eva and I had decided that we would become each other’s cheerleaders and that whenever either one of us was having a hard time we would literally start cheering for the other. This made us giggle, and helped us ride the rough waves of despair. One evening, she and I were alone. I was tempting fate and getting too close to the tree, no doubt to try to re-hang a Gorilla Glued piece of history back on a branch from where it had previously been ejected across the room. In slow motion, but too fast for me to escape, the Tree fell, trapping me under it. Like *really trapped*. Eva thought this was the most hysterical comedic event I had ever put together. I tried to impart to her that it was serious, without causing her alarm and panic.
“Eva. Mommy is stuck, please go get the phone. To which she replied, in her best Cheerleader voice, “Go mommy go! You can do it mommy! If anyone can get out YOU CAN!!!” I doubted her, since I was unable to move anything but my arms, which flailed about uselessly.
Ok here’s where you don’t ever want to be. Trapped under a Christmas tree, which is getting heavier and heavier and you can sort of name the organs that are being crushed one by one as the pressure increases. Branches are impaling you, ornaments are shredding your clothes and skin. Your child, thinking she is doing the right thing, is adorably and totally ineptly cheering for you, complete with little jumps into the air and waving pretend pom poms. “GO MOMMY GO!!”
I grew a tad more nervous. “Eva honey this is serious, can you please go find the phone and bring it here.” *pitter pat pitter pat* as she runs looking for the phone. *pitter pat pitter pat* as she comes back in. “I can’t find the phone! Go mommy go! You can DO IT!!”
Then by a Christmas miracle, the phone RANG. “Oh Eva honey follow the noise, can you follow the noise and find the phone? PLEASE?!?!?!”
She found it, answered it and it was my friend Tony. Tony is fromTrinidadand Tobego and has this beautiful accent that I can hear clearly as the two of them chat each other up about the holidays, what’s been going on in their respective lives, and gossip. I’m about to have a full on nervous breakdown. Finally Eva says to Tony, “Mommy is under the tree! It fell on her!” I hear Tony reply. “Is she bleeeeeding?”
At that point, I must have blacked out. To this day I’m not certain how I got out from under that tree. In the interest of self preservation, I can’t recall much of that month or how many times the tree did fall before we finally rigged it to stay up somehow. The details are unclear.
While I still like a tree that means business, I no longer go for the ones that require remodeling to accommodate them. Or that a safety plan be in place. Just one that is pretty and smells good and makes my family happy. Go Mommy Go!