I feel a little crazy as joy and sadness intermingle, often in the same moment. Christmas is such an emotional time. Putting the decorations on my tree, for example: Ornaments that remind me of happy occasions bring a smile. Others, like ones made by my mother, cause me to miss her terribly. I have a set of handmade ornaments – stars, a reindeer, two trees and a snowman – that she made with my son, when he was four years old. He’s 31 now. As painful as it is to open that box every year, hanging them on my tree brings her close to me. It takes me back to a time when my kids were little and Christmas filled with magic. Despite the tears, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
So much has changed in the last four years. My mom is gone, but she lives on in the lessons and traditions she taught me, as I pass them on to my children and to my grandson. This is the second holiday season in my new place, so it feels more like home. My favorite decorations have assigned places, once more. Each one connects me to the past. For better or worse, they are part of the decades which have molded me and made Christmas an amazingly special time in my life.
Happily, there are always new ornaments that represent the more recent memories we’ve made – reminders of vacations or special days spent together. There are two additional stockings hung this year as our family expands. We are blessed beyond words.
To deny the painful moments would be to deny parts of my life – some of the very best parts. I choose to let them wash over me. I feel them deeply. The sorrow passes but the love remains. It is, very truly, the best time of the year.