A few years ago, I bought a medium pre-lit artificial tree as our sole Christmas tree, with the main purpose of cutting down on marital arguments about light stringing. No longer was there a big fresh tree for sparkly bows, birds and baubles and a kids' tree laden with macaroni ornaments, clothes pin reindeer, and construction paper chains. It became both-- a delightful mish-mash. In fact, many of my "fancier" ornaments remained tucked in plastic tubs because this tree simply isn't big enough for all of it.
And the ornaments keep coming!
At an advent event last night, Andrew made 6 new ornaments out of popsicle sticks, paper and felt.
With Margaret home for Thanksgiving, we were all able to decorate together. This meant so much to me, as I was able to remember how the first few years after Jack died, decorating was excruciating. I did it for Margaret, but oh how it hurt. Now, I am able to hold Jack's Baby's First Christmas Ornaments and smile. I am able to remember how I bravely put up Christmas trees during college after my mom's death, even though no one expected it of me.
This year Andrew pulled a ziploc baggie out of one of the tubs and asked me about the ornament inside. I told him that when my brother, sister, and I were kids, we each had a glass ball with our name on it in glitter. Mine shattered one year and I was distraught. My mother quickly selected another ball, wrote my name on it with Elmer's glue, and dipped it in colored sand that we somehow had in our cluttered, happy home.
That blue ball with red sand followed me the rest of my childhood and far into adulthood. A few years ago it shattered, but instead of tossing it out, I put it in a plastic bag so each year as we decorated, I could remember the loving care of a mom who always provided me a soft place to land.
After we finished the tree this year, 6 year old Andrew called me back down to the family room. He had dug through the tubs of ornaments we weren't using, rigged an ornament hanger into the plastic bag, and hung the remains of my ornament on the tree for me.
His loving gesture reconnected me to my mother's loving gesture over 45 years ago.