With every Christmas tree hunt an adventure always awaits. Especially with 7 kids in tow. In addition to our blended family of 6, my stepdaughter brought a friend. Now I'm not sure why I just didn't insist on going to the nearby tree lot but everyone wanted to cut one down so I was outnumbered. Perish the thought for me to ruin the 'perfect family Christmas."
Of course once we arrived all the kids were grumpy and cold. Suddenly the farm dog dressed in a santa outfit became much more interesting than tromping through the trees in search of the biggest tree.
And of course after driving miles into the country we arrived with only a debit card which the farm didn't accept.
Of course we found out AFTER cutting the tree down and were therefore responsible for purchasing it.
Of course we went back to town for cash.
Of course when we finally got home with the biggest tree on earth we discovered we had no water.
Of course I immediately assumed I had forgotten to pay the bill.
Of course it was a broken pipe.
Of course our basement was flooding.
Of course the kids were starving by then.
Of course pizza delivery prices cost 50 million dollars for that many people.
But even so, family memories were made. The tree is now all decked out in it's glory with ornaments from our childhood, including critters with missing eyes, ripped snowmen, holiday Barbie ornaments lovingly signed by my grandmother and creepy pine cone art from the kids.
These are the best kind of trees, the ones all piled with a mismatched array of baubles and chipped figurines. Each holds a story or a memory and it's important for them to be shared.
And while this family has a crud load of drama and confusion, there is still a sense of togetherness in spite of us being a blended family. Now there are even more stories and memories to share because we have separate pasts but this makes it even more necessary to honor them.
While we honor our pasts we are also establishing new traditions for our present and future.
As parents, my husband and I encourage our kids to share their memories because they hold meaning and add to the growing tapestry of their lives.
We will always be in process but then again, who isn't? Most families are, no matter how perfect and traditional they appear from the outside or how they portray themselves. Families can come in many different varieties but it doesn't make them any less meaningful or any less worthy of grace and acceptance.