I put up the tree this year.
This sounds like such a routine holiday accomplishment, but it was a big hurdle for me. Last year, I couldn’t manage to pull it off. It was my first Christmas season without my kids at home and I was struggling with the transition. I couldn’t figure out the point of decking the halls if I was the only one who would see it. Or, to put it a little more bluntly, I was pouting. I was missing my kids and the season only brought it into sharper focus.
This year, I’m still missing my kids, but I’ve adjusted to our new normal. I put up the tree before Thanksgiving, but didn’t get ornaments on it until yesterday. But decorating for Christmas proved to be an exercise in gratitude. Each ornament unwrapped a past adventure or activity, resulting in a tree overstuffed with wonderful memories.
But the decoration that gave me greatest pause yesterday was this little Christmas chapel. My grampa made this for my grandma more than a hundred years ago and I scarcely have a Christmas in my memory without it. Also, tomorrow would’ve been my grampa’s 133rd birthday. Somehow we’ve been without him for 27 years. How is that even possible. I couldn’t help but think that, gosh, I miss him — and I sure think he’d love my boys.
If we’re lucky, our lives have many, many chapters. If we’re luckier still, we have some pretty wonderful mementos to take with us as each closes and others open.