Just My Type: The Cat Knocked Over the Christmas Tree

A Merry Little Christmas

The cat knocked over the Christmas tree.

I realize there is probably nothing too unique about those seven words. People with pets deal with this kind of thing every Christmas. We even have dealt with it before; years ago when we had both a dog and a cat, our tree was tied to a wall via some twine and a couple cup hooks.

But for some reason that didn’t occur to us this Christmas, the first we are celebrating with our new cat in our home (Last Christmas, the first year we had him, we spent Christmas in Florida and didn’t do any decorating.). Maybe it’s because we had other things on our mind – mostly Noelle’s new health issues. Or maybe it’s because I debated whether to even put up a tree this year – mostly because Noelle’s new health issues have not put me in a happy jolly mood…

In any case, we put up a small tree in front of our living room window. It’s not the prettiest tree, but it made Noelle smile when she saw it. The first night, the cat batted down a low-hanging ball ornament, and we quickly moved the remaining ornaments up to higher branches. A few days later, we hollered at him when we saw him jump to swat at another ornament.

Then came this past Thursday. My husband, Noelle and I were in the kitchen, doing some Christmas baking, chatting and laughing, when we heard a crash. My husband arrived in the living room first and yelled, “No, Jack!” Noelle and I followed quickly and saw the tree laying on its side, ornaments scattered around the floor, water soaking through the tree skirt.

Noelle absolutely freaked out, starting to scream, “Oh, no! My tree!” My husband threatened to throw the cat out the back door, which just made Noelle scream even louder.

So much for a quiet holiday evening.

The thing was, the last few weeks have been really difficult. The new health issues have wreaked havoc on Noelle’s body, her mood, her schedule. A regular day at school sees her visiting the nurse half a dozen times and complaining of a stomach ache the same number of times. She’s missing learning time and my husband and I are missing working time, fielding frequent phone calls from the nurse and taking her home from school early many days because really, what’s the point of leaving her laying on the school nurse’s bed all day?

So I guess I had in my mind that a “perfect” holiday would help us all feel better and get over the latest hurdle. So I bought the tree on a whim one day without telling them, pulled out the decorations, dug out some holiday cards to send out and vowed to make this a good Christmas, despite everything else going on.

Then the cat came along, and the tree resting on its side with ornaments scattered everywhere seemed a metaphor for life. Wrecked.

Or maybe not.

I sent Noelle to bed, removed all of the tinsel and lights and hooks, straightened and trimmed some of the crooked branches, re-decorated it – from the middle up anyway – and duct-taped the stand to the table it is resting on. In other words, I saved the tree.

And maybe, in some small way, I saved myself. I put the pieces of Christmas back together. Maybe next I can put the pieces of a “normal” life back together for my family.

Happy New Year!


Rebecca Dravis

Pittsfield native Rebecca Dravis is a former journalist who lives in north Berkshire County with her husband and daughter in Williamstown, MA. In Just My Type Rebecca shares her experiences as a parent raising a child with type one diabetes. – Check out Just My Type on the third Monday of every month.

[Photo credit: (cc) tambra]

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