Strolling the aisles of Bronner’s “The World’s Largest CHRISTmas Store,” I picked up every tree ornament that reminded me of my sons.
Every year when they were very young, they would each pick out an ornament, so that one day, when they grew up and moved out, they would have not only a good start at an ornament collection, but a tree full of childhood memories as well. For years, our Christmas tree looked like something in a Disney store, decorated childishly, yet adorably – with Buzz Light Year, Woody, Nemo, cowboys & Indians, and every baseball or hockey player that my sons admired. This past year, I passed all of Rory’s ornaments on to him to decorate his first Christmas tree with his new bride. I am sure his ornaments looked silly to he and his wife THIS year, but I am praying some day that he hangs them up there and tells nostalgic stories to his children, about all of his memories growing up in our home. And, I hope he buys ornaments yearly for them too, and that his tree gets decorated by the ornaments his children pick out, (God willing). Because, truth be told – My tree may have been more “color-coordinated” and “grown up” looking this past Christmas, but there were few memories left on it…… Only Ian’s, but his will some day go to him as well.
So, I am coming home with new ornaments, but I cannot tell you about them because they are THIS year’s CHRISTmas gift – A few to add to Rory and Holly’s tree. But I did have fun picking up things that made me laugh, made me remember, almost made me cry……. And then Sarah sent me a text. Sarah is a nurse I know from work, who happened to have run into my son a few minutes prior. She said that she had been talking to him, and that he was a good man, and that I raised him well and should be proud. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
So there I was, in the middle of picking up a football ornament remembering the 8 years of sitting in the football stands, (and I STILL don’t understand the game), and after Sarah’s text, I broke out into a full-on cry. I couldn’t help it.
“Those were the good old days…………” I texted to my sons while I sat alone eating dinner at Zhender’s (World Famous Chicken). Rory called and we talked a short bit about his day. Ian texted and we agreed, “And these are the good new days!”
Now, I sit writing this from the couch in my hotel room at the Bavarian Inn, in Fankenmuth, Michigan. Staring at me from the wall is a collection of family photos from the family that my room is named after. From what I can tell, it looks like about 3 generations dating back to 1935. I can’t help but to think about those CHRISTmas ornaments – Who will hang them 50 or 60 years from now? What stories will they tell? Which one will be their favorite? How many generations will they be passed on to?
It’s been a good day of reminiscing. And yes, I did drive 2 hours to have a chicken dinner meal, and I most certainly will stop at the same rest stop on my way home that Dad would always stop at. And yes, I’ll probably shed a tear or two. But wouldn’t life be dull if we didn’t have such moments to remember?
Sarah, your text helped my entire day make perfect sense, at the perfect time, in the perfect way. And I need to see you soon. (I’ve got something for your tree).