CANDY CANE LANE
B spent no small amount of time in the freezing cold getting the outside of our house Ho-Ho ready. He took a cue from one of his Christmas heroes, Clark Griswold, and strung lights on the eve and along the ground by the front porch. He placed wreaths on the windows and candy cane lights under the windows. He directed red and green spotlights to the two large evergreen trees in the front yard. He light-wrapped two of the front trees, the small ones, in white and blue lights. He also lined driveway on either side with 12” candy-cane solar lights that sparkle red at night. After he lined the driveway, he warned us all to be very careful with the lights after last year’s candy-cane light trampling debacle perpetrated by a negligent Monkey Boy. Fortunately, B was able to revive the candy-cane light and add it back to the set for this year, making sure the placement of such lights were several inches off the driveway and noticeable. I only tripped once on said light when exiting the car in the driveway. It was duly noted, and I have since been able to avoid the light. Until the week before Christmas.
B and I returned from dropping Monkey Boy off at school and we were going over our day’s to-do list. B backed into the driveway so—for a quick getaway, he says, you know just in case of a zombie apocalypse, I suppose. He didn’t park the car in the garage because he had projects he wanted to work on in the not-quite-outside room.
When the car was in the full-stopped and parked position, I swung open my door, uprooting and decapitating a candy-cane light with a loud crack. B jumped from his seat and ran to the passenger side of the car. In what felt a twinge like that lamp-demise scene in “A Christmas Story”, B approached the slain light.
“I opened my door,” I said with a soft voice. “I didn’t realize…”
He held up his hand. Then he bent over and picked up the torso of the light, “You broke my lamp.” And with the staked end he began to stab at the frozen ground.
I stood close watching him, biting my lip wondering how I could have avoided the accident. I have been riding in cars for all my life, all with very little unwanted consequences. Most of the time, when I open my door it is to simply exit the car and not demolish yard decoration or ding other cars. Yet that day, it appeared that I had the strength of 10 Grinches plus two.
“I’m gonna have to fix this. Do you have any glue, or did you use all that up on purpose?” B said as he gathered up the pieces of his broke lamp. He then assigned himself to the garage for the duration of the repair, which he did so expertly.
The next day, when I pulled the car out of the garage on my way to pick up the kids from school, I saw the solar lamp once again standing tall in its place along the driveway in line with the other lamps. It was then that my guilt subsided.
When I arrived home later that day, with two grumpy kids who were just forced to endure a little shopping, I pulled the car straight into the driveway instead of backing in like B. I stopped the car and swung open my door. CRACK.
“Momma, what did you do?” asked the Girl.
There on the ground was the lamp, not just uprooted and decapitated but also snapped from the stake at the bottom and broken in half with the head sprawled several feet into the yard. The candy cane now sectioned into four distinct parts. I looked up from the driver’s seat and there stood B in the garage door staring at me.
“Whadyyado this time?” He jeered.
“I think I killed the lamp.”
He walked to the sad, sad lamp and gathered the pieces, “I might be able to fix it, but not with that stake. I don’t know if I can even get that out of the ground.”
I unloaded my groceries and hung my head low as I walked into the house.
B didn’t say anything more about his fragmented lamp, but all night, I thought about ways that I could possibly make up for or replace that lamp.
The next day, when I left the house to pick up the kids on their last day of school before break, I couldn’t even look to the spot where the once proud lamp stood. As we were on our way home, I reminded myself several times to be aware of the candy-cane solar lamps lining the driveway. I even said it aloud to warn the Girl and Monkey Boy, in case my example had not taken root.
“But we’re not the one who keeps breaking it,” said the Girl.
“Yeah, Momma, that’s all you,” said Monkey Boy.
As we rounded the corner and turned into the driveway, I saw B had repaired and replaced the lamp, only not as a small, almost invisible yard ornament. There duct taped to a 3’ metal stake jabbed into the ground was B’s candy cane solar lamp. When I pulled into the driveway and looked out my window, the lamp stood at eye level.
B popped out from the side of the house and said, “Do you think you’ll be able to see that one?”
(And here’s your gift from me.)
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, or the most hectic, really depending on what’s happening in your corner of the world. I really wish for all of you peace…and presents and fun, too. So here's my Christmas present to all of you: You can download the Kindle version my new book FREE today and tomorrow, December 24 and 25, at Amazon.com. That’s right folks, “Everyday Ordinary: (Mostly) True Confessions of Marriage, Shoe Shopping and How I Keep Losing the Mother of the Year Award” is FREE today and tomorrow. There’s a great Christmas story in there about a family that goes to Burger King. Spoiler Alert: we’re that family. #everdayordinary