Until December 26th, that is.
Once our tree has fulfilled its annual Christmas destiny, the various members of my family no longer feel that they should treat it with the same reverence. The guiltiest party is our cat, who throughout the season honored the tree by munching on it, ingesting its prickly plastic needles, throwing up said needles on the tree skirt and returning to its branches to find solace after his digestive pyrotechnics. I think it was an homage to the circle of life or something.
Now that Christmas has passed, however, his gentle and symbolic ingestion of the tree is thrown by wayside and he assaults it like Barker manhandles Bloose. He bats at the glittery balls, chews on the ties that hold ornaments together and even climbs the metal core of the tree out of what I can only assume is grief for the passing of yet another Christmas.
Cael is in mourning, too. He doesn't try to ascend the tree, but his passive-aggressive attitude toward our tree tells me that there may be some therapy in our future. But then again, no shrink on Earth is qualified enough to narrow down exactly which traumatizing event in his past led to his future unraveling.
Too many trains? Not enough vegetables? Asking strangers about their "nuts" one too many times?
Until that day, Cael (and Graham too) have been busying themselves slowly and methodically removing ornaments from the tree and stashing them about the house. I can always find a star or two under the couch after a feline raid, but by the 27th of December I was finding Christmas balls in my shoes and strings of faux pearls coiled up in the cardboard cylinder of a used toilet paper roll.
Please understand that I am all for entertainment in the bathroom, and I have a stash of Better Homes and Gardens magazines to prove it. But when I reach for several squares of toilet paper and wind up with tinsel in my rear, it may be time to disassemble the tree. And my underpants.
I thought that yesterday would be the day. I kicked the cat out of the way, gathered up the hidden ornaments and pulled out the first of several boxes only to discover that the ornaments Cael and Graham removed from the tree had been replaced with other items that they apparently felt were more representative of their feelings about the post-Christmas season.
First I noticed the Koosh ball Graham had received in his stocking. I knew that he was a little leery of it when he opened it and said it was "suzzy" which I took to mean "fuzzy", but I didn't realize that his disdain for the tiny stocking stuffer was so severe that he had to impale it on the tree like a head on a pike.
The ball wasn't alone, though. It joined several of the boys' new gifts in a bizarre chain that circumnavigated the tree. But rather than loops of paper or people holding hands, Cael and Graham adorned the tree with wooden blocks, Scooby-Doo, books both soft and hard-backed and several tissues that look as though they've been used a time or two. Or seven.
What a masterpiece. It really will be hard to remove such a glamorous installment from my living room.
Where will I keep my tiny Thomas underpants now?
Enjoy your holiday weekend! I will be back on Tuesday with more of our antics. And since we only covered Christmas this week, there will be a lot to share. Probably too much. :)