Getting a Christmas tree is a big deal. Since I was a kid, we’ve gone out hunting for the ‘perfect’ tree. Sometimes that meant we were in the back of a muddy field or braving a blizzard to find a tree we were certain had been planted just.for.us.
This year, well, it was harder. I knew the timing would be tough so I left work a bit early yesterday and decided it was the day. With a rainy forecast on Sunday and Connor going away for an overnight at Great Wolf, I figured it made sense to pick out the ‘perfect’ tree on Friday and plan to decorate on Sunday.
Thankfully, my dad reminded me that I might need to borrow a vehicle (duh, would you need a truck?) so I stopped at his house first before picking up CJ. The girls decided to go as well so once again, it was me and the Three Musketeers. Like the savvy shopper I am, I brought my coupon and we headed to the tree farm.
Given it was almost five by this point, I knew the idea of ‘hunting’ for the tree was likely out since dusk now begins in Michigan at 2:30 in the afternoon and its time for bed at six. We arrived at the tree farm and three women were chatting in the driveway and we passed them heading for the parking area. I didn’t realize until I pulled into that drive that no one else was parked there … or anywhere. Were they closed?
We parked anyway (in the back of the lot, just in case they had a huge rush) and toddled over to the barn. I asked if they were closed and one of the women said that we could pick out a tree if we wanted to grab one of those that were standing just off to the side. There were probably 20 trees or so and as the available light kept dwindling, I told Connor to pick a tree. He had his mind made up. It had to be fat. So, we hunted (in amongst the pre-cut trees) for the biggest, fattest tree we could find. Connor found one toward the back and declared it his so I quickly hauled the camera out (and noticed how the tree definitely had some ‘character’).
Then I handed the camera off and hoped for the best .It’s tough to explain very quickly (to a 16-year-old) how to operate a camera that’s set up just so. But, we at least got one photo together. Once again, ‘perfect’ is relative.
The ladies said they could help us get it loaded but that we wouldn’t be able to bail it that day. I decided to just grab it then so Connor hustled out with me to the truck. I found myself getting all emotional as we ran out there. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. We didn’t hunt for a tree. We were rushing through this whole thing. It just felt … wrong. I told Connor he could sit on my lap to drive to the front of the barn and I asked him if he was happy. He said, “Mom, I picked out that tree. I’m happy!” I felt the sadness start to go away.
We pulled around the barn and bumped the mirror of the other big truck in the parking lot. Oops. I blame it on Connor. He was definitely driving for that split second.
Anyway, we jumped out of the truck and heard some hysterical laughter in the back of the pre-cut trees and come to find out, the three of them (and Alyssa) were trying to lift the three off from the post and it fell over and into one of the women’s foreheads. She swore she was fine so they trudged on and we got the tree loaded up into the back of the truck.
I handed over my coupon and my check and stopped the women as the kids got in the truck. Apparently, the guys who typically run the farm were out on a trip so they had closed early for the day. I told them that this was our first ‘new’ Christmas and that the combination of events at the tree farm led to it being the perfect tree-hunting experience.
I mean, how could I forget pulling into an empty tree farm lot, Connor finding the ‘perfect’ tree in the (near) dark, sitting on my lap in the (too) big truck and five women figuring out how to haul around a seven foot Fraser fir?
The fact is, the tree was planted for us and Connor said it was ours. So, it is … crooked trunk, split top and all.
That’s a beautiful picture of you two. Even the slight blurriness to the photo adds a sense of whimsy to the whole thing. I would have that framed. Merry Christmas!