by Karen D. Koch

Christmas 2002 holds one of our funniest Christmas memories, although at the time it seemed more catastrophic than humorous.


Hubby: just had extensive knee surgery (bone cutting, re-alignment, metal plate, new ligament, etc.) with something crazy like 27 staples in his leg. He was basically couch-bound in a great deal of pain. His leg was swollen to enormous bruised proportions. We still sometimes call him “Shark Bite” from the huge scar.

Me:  enormously pregnant, about 20 days out from birth of child #3. I was exhausted from being pregnant, caring for recuperating hubby and little boys.

Sons age 6 and 4.

Far-too-large Christmas tree has just been kindly delivered by a friend who realized how incapacitated we were to easily get one.

Got all that?

Cue the Dramatic Music

I was exhausted, in our second year of homeschooling (I think – memory getting foggy. I had to remember what year my daughter was born to figure this out), trying to pull Christmas together for some fun family memories, but really just needing a nap. With help from our tree benefactor, I wrestled the huge tree into our cast-iron tree stand that I think weighed more than me. Added water. All set for ornaments. We always string the lights on first, but the boys weren’t really tall enough at this age, so this job fell to me.

The tree, unfortunately, was really wide around, wedged in a corner between the fireplace and hubby-on-the-couch, not easy to move due to the aforementioned cast-iron stand.  As I tried to crowd around the tree which was jammed into the corner, my huge, pregnant belly did something unexpected. It knocked over the tree. Down went the enormous tree, the cast iron stand, water flowing all over the living room floor. I’m yelling, hubby’s yelling but can’t really help. My center of gravity was so off and my belly in the way so that I couldn’t even begin to get the tree upright. The boys stood paralyzed like deer in the headlights as we yelled for them to help, get towels, etc.

We finally got the tree up with me pulling from behind in the corner around my massive girth, and Monte laying on his back on the floor, pushing up against the tree trunk with his crutch. It was truly one of our more pathetic moments.

Cleaning the Mess

We sopped up and swept up the mess. We got hubby back up on the couch, in considerably more pain than minutes prior. I’m relatively sure I went into the bathroom and cried. The boys were scared about all the chaos. We grouched and grumbled at each other over the mess and the stress. But then we decided we didn’t want the night to end that way, so we went ahead and decorated the tree with the boys hanging things up as far as they could reach. We hung the stockings, played Christmas CDs, and drank hot chocolate. We went to bed happy.

A Favorite Memory

Funny ChristmasAnd funny enough, 13 years later, we still laugh about how ridiculous that event was. I am grateful there is no existing photo of the event, however. (Alas, we have a fake tree now after the Post-Christmas-Tree-Catastrophe-Stress.)

I think homeschooling and just family in general are like that, too. Some of the moments that we think are the most catastrophic, disastrous, or frustrating end up being hilarious memories that make us laugh, or tender moments that make us cry. It gives us shared history and togetherness. We have all had homeschool days we wish we could forget, or ones we’d prefer to just do over, if given the chance. But even those moments may have glimmers of a future family memory or unexpected returns later on.

And I still love it when the kids ask, “Mom, tell us again about when you knocked over the Christmas tree when you were pregnant with Maddie.”

A blessed Christmas to you and yours from all of us at CHEA.

Photo: The Fabulous Four Koch kids now