There is a box in the middle of my living room. It is full of pieces of my memory. Some are older, moments from my childhood passed on. Others are recent, some as new as this year. Each piece means something, or somebody, to me. Some of these memories, these moments, are small. Others still are significant.
My father started the ornament thing. His family was all about the decorations on the tree. A red shiny ball with a name existed for each and every child and grandchild. Others were there to commemorate a period of time or a special occasion. When my mother and father had their first tree, his parents gifted him several of the ones they had collected for him. When I was married, my parents did the same.
I had one Christmas, a few years back, where they didn’t make an appearance. It was a year with a combination of problems, moving soon after the holiday, a miscarriage and cancer treatment left me feeling less than festive. That was a dark Christmas. No photos, no tree, no real celebrating. It was my last Christmas with my ex, but I didn’t know that then.
This is my second real Christmas with D. Last year was our first, and while I was struggling with not working, I had plenty of time to decorate, bake, prepare. The year before that, I was home for the holiday, so there was no big deal made. This year, I’m stressed about my dad and overwhelmed at work. The hours I’ve been home, I’ve been too exhausted to finish my holiday to-do list.
I need to finish the tree, if nothing else. The ornaments mean something, and they may be just the thing to make me feel grateful and possibly even hopeful this December. From the angels for my lost angels to the snowflakes from friends around the globe, I need those memories; those glittery, sparkling, shiny pieces from life. Those tokens of family and Christmases past.