Midwestern Mom's Musings

My view of the world through words & photos

Decorating and Remembering

I spent this week pulling out the Christmas decorations and bringing some of the holiday into our home.  Since we had water issues in our basement this past year, the Christmas tree Bill and I had bought our first year in this house had to be thrown out.  So Beka and I found another tree that meets our current needs – and the bonus was that it was already wired for lights (which are normally the part that takes forever to get spaced out appropriately).

While Beka was putting up decorations in other parts of the house, I took all the ornaments out. The first ornament I put on the tree was the first ornament Bill and I purchased together as a married couple.  Then I sat down and cried, feeling that overwhelming emptiness that has been a part of me since Bill’s death.

The next two ornaments on the tree were the “First Christmas” ornaments for Ben and Beka.  While Bill’s absence wasn’t erased, I felt such love when I remembered how excited we were for the kids to experience Christmas each year.

Ben's First OrnamentBen was nearly seven months old at his first Christmas.  At this point, he was able to start reaching out and capturing what he was aiming for…and that winter it was Santa’s beard.  After we got his picture with Santa, I started to lift him off Santa’s lap when Santa suddenly told me to stop.  It seemed our little boy was fascinated by Santa’s beard and was able to wrap several of his little fingers in it.  The entire line of children and parents had to wait while we slowly freed Santa from his tiny admirer.  Good thing Santa is full of patience.

Beka's First OrnamentBeka was nearly 11 months old at her first Christmas.  My fashionista emerged during that holiday when my mom began a tradition of sending Beka her Christmas dress.  That Christmas was the first one for four of us to travel to my family’s home in California.  At five and a half years old, Ben was already a seasoned traveler.  Beka, thank goodness, charmed everyone around us.  I thank God for giving me two excellent travelers.

When I carefully place my mercury glass reproduction ornaments, I thought lovingly of my grandparents who had similar ornaments on their Christmas trees. Family Ornaments
I completed decorating the tree only with ornaments that held meaning – gifts from friends and ones the kids, Bill or I picked out.  The colorful, but mass produced, ornaments didn’t have a place on the tree this year.  Many wonderful memories filled the tree, leaving no room for anything that wasn’t personally connected to us.Our Christmas Tree 2012

I’ve stopped trying to “prepare” for how I’m going to feel or react during an upcoming event since the things I’m sure will hit me the hardest are rarely the ones that bring the tears.  My faith also tells me that Bill is present at each of these gatherings, whether it’s Thanksgiving dinner or our daughter’s school’s Christmas Concert and Play – that makes me smile.

So I’m going to …

  • move forward each day of this holiday season, with my kids, recalling beautiful Christmases from past years and making new memories during this one.
  • continue to thank God for the more than 20 years I had with Bill here beside me, and a faith that assures me that we will be together again.
  • say a prayer for all my family and friends who have increased their support.
  • say a final prayer for others who have lost family or friends this year; whether their loved one left as a result of age, illness, accident or tragedy, the emptiness inside can be overwhelming.  I pray they can open themselves up to the warmth, comfort and love of our Lord.
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