Kechia: Confessions of a Christmas-kind

December 1, 2006 | By More

Christmas decorating at the Bentley House is like everything else at the Bentley house; bizarre. Sometimes I think my function in life is to give other families the opportunity to laughingly say, “Well, at least we aren’t as bad as the Bentleys.”

Long ago we faced the newlywed dilemma of deciding where to spend our first Christmas — with his family or mine. We got the “guilt trip” from both families.

So what did we do? We managed to see both of them. Sounds simple until you understand that we were living on the east end of Long Island, New York. My family was in Arkansas and his was in Florida.

We made this insane trip with our dog. (We now alternate between Florida and Arkansas for Christmas.)

Even though I knew we would be leaving several days before Christmas, I wanted to decorate to the hilt. This included having a real Christmas tree.

Donald tried to reason with me that the tree would be “way past dead” by the time we returned. I didn’t care. I wanted Christmas wonderland in our home. I decorated everything.

For the next several years Donald played along well, even if reluctantly. All the while, he kept trying to reason with me that this exhaustive decorating was pointless. I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time he said, “We are not going to be here, so why are we decorating?!!!”

Of course all his logic fell on deaf ears.

What I didn’t see coming was his change in tactics.

After we moved from Long Island to Arkansas, he dropped the logic lecture. He initiated the “I am too busy or too tired” approach. When I would ask him to get the Christmas stuff out of the attic, he was just too tired. If I wanted to go get the tree, he would have too much work. I finally caught on to his tricks — but he had under estimated his opponent.

One year, after several nights of saying “Let’s go get the tree” only to get the “too tired, too busy” excuse, I revealed my new plan of attack. I simply said, “Well I’ll just take the kids and go get it myself.”

Donald then uttered the words that he has learned to regret: “You can’t get the tree by yourself.”

I know good Christian wives are supposed to be submissive but when my husband tells me “you can’t” — as in “you are unable” — all bets are off. It becomes, “I’ll show you, buddy.”

So off I went … and back I came with a gigantic tree. We won’t go into how I got it home in my mini-van with three small children. Let’s just say they were somewhere in there between the branches.

As we arrived home, Donald offered to help bring in the tree and set it up. By then I was in full “I don’t need your help” mode. As a result the tree did lean a little and I cut way too many branches off the bottom, but I did it by myself.

A few years later we were at it again. I had called Donald at work to tell him I wanted to put the Christmas lights up when he got home that night.

He began giving me all the reasons why that night was a bad night.

I — of course — tell him: “Then I’ll just do it by myself.” What does he say? “You can’t do it by yourself.” Realizing what he had just said, he began to back paddle, telling me he didn’t mean it. It was too late.

I had the ladder leaning up against the roof before we were off the phone.

Keeping up with three boys from the roof of one’s house is quite a challenge. It was also a challenge to keep three boys off the roof.

By the time Donald arrived home the lights were up. They looked great! (Okay, I did keep blowing a fuse because I had too many lights plugged together, so I did need a little help.)

There have been quite a few more “you can’t do that by yourself” moments over the years, and I am sure there are more to come. I am trying to work on that submission thing. Maybe this will help.

This will be an early Christmas present for my husband. It will also make what you are holding in your hands priceless. You will probably never see this in print again even though it will be true many times over.

I was wrong.

Now, that alone is not the Christmas present or what makes this priceless. Here’s the biggie.

Not only was I wrong but my husband was RIGHT.

There, I have said it. You see this is a Florida Christmas year and I am not putting up a single decoration at home.

I can hear this voice saying, “we aren’t going to be here anyway.”

Merry Christmas Honey

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Category: Every Day Life

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