I wondered about tinsel. Maybe I could buy some tinsel and wrap it around the bottom. That might make it less noticeable. Only -- putting tinsel on would mean touching the tree. And even more needles would pour down.
The next morning began with more of the same. "This tree looks like a dead man's fingers," Ethan said glumly. He had trouble motivating himself to get dressed, he was so upset.
"Look, you're going to be late for school. You HAVE to get dressed," I said through clenched teeth.
"Ethan, the tree discussion is closed," Dan added.
He lay on his bed, staring sadly at the ceiling. I was starting to lose patience.
"Listen. We can't do anything about the tree. But there are LOTS of people this Christmas who can't do anything about things that are really, really sad. Like maybe they lost a loved one. And they can't do anything to bring them back, and it's hard for them to celebrate Christmas."
"You're not helping me!" Ethan exclaimed.
"I'm trying to give you some perspective," I muttered.
That evening we sat in the dark for awhile looking at the glow of the tree.
"I see more webs," commented Chloe.
"Mom, can we put that yellow caution tape around the tree until Christmas morning?" Ethan asked, as more fell off, inexplicably. This time I saw him cracking a smile. And a little laugh. Progress.
It was time for Ethan to go to bed. "I'm just worried because I don't know what the tree is going to look like on Christmas morning," Ethan confessed. "I'm so worried about it."
"You're worried because you don't know what's going to happen. You can't predict what's going to happen," I told him. "I understand. We all have worries like that. It's one of the hardest things about life because we don't know how things are going to turn out sometimes. But we can't let that steal our joy."
"Can we pray the needles stop falling off the tree?"
"We could, but that's nature, Ethan. How about we pray instead for peace? So that no matter what happens, we can be a peace with this, and you can sleep instead of worrying about the tree, and we can still enjoy Christmas. That's what the peace that passes understanding that they talk about in the Bible is all about."
And so we did.
Today, needles are still falling. We're soldiering on towards Christmas. And Ethan was able to leave for school with a smile on his face.