Saving Trees

Sadly, the first thing on my to-do list this morning was to get rid of the Christmas tree. Now, before you start judging me and wondering how I kept a live tree in my house for 2 months without it disintegrating into a pile of brown needles, you should know that:

a. The tree was removed from the house before the New Year and has laid in our back yard ever since.

b. I live with a diagnosed hoarder.

We go through this every year. We take down the tree in what is considered a reasonable time frame, and then toss it in the back yard to appease my son, who would rather saw off his left leg than see the tree put out to the curb. It doesn’t matter that we cajole him with stories of the tree turning to mulch and living a full life in someone else’s garden. He doesn’t care that the tree is already dead, and was dead when we bought it. He just has an unreasonable desire  to keep it.  And so every year, I wait until the stars align before I drag the tree to the curb.

In order to actually get rid of the tree, the timing has to be just right:

a. It has to be trash pick up day

b. My son must have already left for school when the garbage truck arrives

c. I must remember to drag the tree out to the curb before the garbage truck arrives

Today was (finally!) that magic day. The boys left for school and in a rare moment of forethought I had set my iPhone alarm to go off about 10 minutes after their departure, minimizing the chance that I would get sucked into the computer and forget my mission. I put on my gear and flexed my muscles–I’m not just being a wimp; this is a large tree; it scraped the top of our 9 foot ceilings when standing–and I dragged that tree to the curb.

From  my desk I could see the tree lying conspicuously on the curb. I wondered what the neighbors would think. After a while I couldn’t stand the suspense so I went to take a shower and sing several stanzas of “Oh Christmas Tree,” while I waited.  When 2:45 arrived and the tree was still on the curb, I knew there would be trouble.

Sure enough within minutes of arriving home, all three of my children were missing. A look out the window found them collaborating in the effort of dragging the enormous tree around our house to the back yard.  I watched with a mixture of amusement and awe. The little ones were determined to help their brother save the tree, despite not understanding exactly why. Eventually they made it to their clubhouse in the back yard, and after a struggle, propped the tree up against the swing-set. It was probably the first time I have ever seen them work so diligently together without me guiding them (or demanding it in a loud voice). As they ran circles around the tree, laughing and screaming with joy over their accomplishment, I had to admit– it was a little bit like a Christmas miracle.

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