We celebrated my birthday last night by decorating the Christmas tree. In fact, the whole day had some sort of Christmas connection to it - gathering what we needed for our December science projects (which just happen to be gifts for our extended family and goodies for all), writing letters to Santa, and more costume-making.
But back to the tree. As we decorated, each of us was taken back to a Christmas past. My husband and I have an "Our First Christmas" decoration that we hang together, and that was a gift after we were married. I asked him if he even remembered our first Christmas after we were married. He could at least remember where we put the tree - I couldn't even remember that.
But I do recall the first Christmas we celebrated together in our own place...and how we realized that our Christmas tree was actually a fire hazard in disguise. I also remembered one of our puppy's (Boomer's) first Christmas, and how he ate the glass ornaments after knocking them off the tree with his tail. We've never had to child-proof a tree like we did for that dog!
I also remembered, as I watched the little ones put all the one-of-a-kind decorations on, how I had loathed homemade, uncoordinated decorations in my younger years. I wondered how in the world my parents could keep putting them on the tree year after year. Now I know the satisfaction that comes from a tree that is unique to my family, their passions and their experiences.
My son was taken back to a Christmas two years ago, as he pulled out the decorations dedicated to our four-legged friends. You see, two years ago our other dog, Moose, became seriously ill very suddenly and it became apparent to us that he would need to be put down. It was on Christmas Eve, and was a very sad day for us instead of the joyous one we were all looking forward to. When Nicholas pulled out the Moose decorations, the memories of that beautiful dog came back to him. All the kisses he so generously gave to anyone who walked in the door. How we miss those kisses. Whether Moose is happy now that he's crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Whether we'll wait on the bridge for Nicholas when we pass.
Such deep thoughts for such a little one. We try our best to comfort him and answer his questions, and we don't always know the answers. We can only simply come to terms with the fact that our holiday season will be a bit about celebrating the return of the light, and a bit about honouring those who have passed before us.