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Like many good stories, this one happened once upon a time. The time was shortly before Christmas, during the season of Advent. I was focused on all the things that needed to be done. My wife helped me focus by writing everything down for me. She tried to make it easier by dividing the chores into two lists, one of things that needed to be done, and one of things she would like me to do. I knew there was no significant difference between the lists.
One of the first chores was putting up the decorations. My wife enjoys this. Really. When we were first married, I thought she was just trying to be nice when she offered to decorate by herself. Wanting to be nice also, I helped anyway. It only took two years of watching her undo my work to figure out she was serious. That year our daughter, Sarah, was seven and allowed to help. My job was keeping our son, Charlie, out of the way. He was only about a year and a half and still a long way from grasping the concept of “look, but don’t touch.”
When the tree was finished, I picked the little guy up for a closer look. Charlotte narrowed her eyes and reminded me that the fragile ornaments had been intentionally placed out of his reach. “I’ve got him. We’re just looking.” I tried to assure her. She looked less than confident. Sometimes I think she knows the future because not two minutes later, Charlie managed to grab an ornament I thought was far enough away. I was startled and jerked back. Naturally, this startled Charlie and made him drop the ceramic wreath that was no longer anchored to the tree. There was a revealing clank as it knocked against more ceramic on its way to the floor.