The Surprise that Wasn’t


My daughter has been reading the Magic Treehouse books for quite some time. In case you aren’t familiar, two children, Jack and Annie, discover a magic treehouse in the forest behind their home. The treehouse spins around, flies through the air and transports them to different times and locations. It’s a great way to teach kids about history, geography and the books are fun and well written. Right before Christmas Ella decided that she really wanted a treehouse too. I’m not sure if she expected to have magical adventures like Jack and Annie but the idea of a treehouse was definitely big for her.

Our house was built in 1913 but prior to the home being built it’s my understanding that everything in this general area was an apple orchard. I can’t vouch for the actual truth of this information but I do know that we have a very old apple tree in our back yard. It’s huge, with two giant trunks that branch off in opposite directions. When it hasn’t been trimmed for a couple of years the branches tower into the sky. Amidst its tree greatness, it occasionally even finds the time to produce an apple or two. Admittedly, the years have not always been kind to the tree and it’s taken a pretty good beating. It’s not the most beautiful tree out there but it does provide some shade and more importantly, it is an excellent location for a tree house.

JJ and I had the brilliant idea of trying to have the tree house built without Ella finding out so that we could surprise her for Christmas. Great plan right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong? For about two weeks, all was going well. We had the windows covered, we kept Ella from going in the back yard, we ate in areas other than the dining room – we basically did everything possible so that Ella wouldn’t be able to see the construction taking place outside.

And then it happened. One night Ella traipsed upstairs, heard the dog asking to be let in and opened the back door. Utter bedlam. Ella proceeded to have a complete and utter meltdown. She was over the moon excited. Slightly after the tree house was finished, Ella, her best friend and JJ had a sleepover in it. It was around 22 degrees outside and even with a small space heater I can’t imagine it was very warm inside the structure. I don’t remember how I got out of that one – I think I just didn’t fit in the space that was left over inside.

School is just about out for Ella and I am sure there will be many adventures waiting for her in the backyard. I’m looking forward to some good stories. And if they do involve journeys to foreign lands, as long as Ella is back by her curfew I’m ok with that.

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