One by one, I carefully packed away the ornaments I plucked from the tree, as memories of Christmas pasts came rushing in. Many of those dainty ornaments have years in permanent marker, some as far back as twenty-four years ago. I left 2007 for last, unaware until I began the task that it wasn’t going to be like any other year when I took down the tree. And when I came across a carousel ornament marked “Daniel - 1989,” I held it to my breast and wept for a moment. Had to hang it back on the tree with 2007 until the rest had all been packed away.
Your sisters still slept soundly while I wrapped you all up in baby blue and put a red bow on your forehead. Your Dad woke everyone up with "Hurry! Hurry! Come see what's under the tree!" How exciting, those huge hazel eyes of your sisters' when they discovered the gift of a baby brother less than four days old. And then their second surprise; Mom was home for Christmas too.
Now, here you are, 2007, a young man, and this was your last Christmas as my dependent child. Thank you for hanging our 2007 ornaments, Son, one soldier boy for you and another for me. I can't tell you what it meant to watch you this year, searching for just the right limbs.
I recalled a Christmas not many years ago, a Christmas I spent alone. A memory too painful to keep going back to, so I quickly brushed it away and reflected upon happy Christmas Day after happy Christmas Day, year after year after blessed year. One may do so next year, but never has a fancy tree with modern ornaments graced my home. It wouldn’t have left room on the limbs for love that has permeated our air over the years, more so than the smell of pine or sugar cookies or Christmas turkey. I don’t know where I’m going to be next year. But of one thing, I am certain; whatever the tree looks like, whatever the air smells like, wherever I lay my head to rest, love will be there. It always has been.
Dearest Treava... Oh, my...as a Mom, my heart was with your every word, feeling every emotion you mentioned! How bittersweet that our young ones grow - as we fully intended - into independent adults, ready to fly. But, I have ENCOURAGING news for you, Sis! Although in the midst of the transitions there can be emotional pangs, the end result is wonderful! Soon that young man you so lovingly nurtured will become an adult you can share with and talk with on a whole, new level. And you will treasure those moments and every spoken word! I love my relationship with my grown sons and their wonderful wives. Just be prepared as life turns things around - one day they will say "I don't know what to do with Mom, she is going through one of those stages, etc."! :-) I love you! Peggy