One of our holiday traditions is to put the Christmas tree up as a family. We do it much like an assembly line, then I put on the lights, and then Mike and I pass the ornaments out to the kids who put them on the tree. Each child has accumulated an impressive collection of their own ornaments over the years, and a lot of them are homemade – which are by far my favorite. We have glittery frames containing their pictures. We have crafty ones they have personally made at church and school. And, for some reason, Drake has many “crafts” that he made out of origami, in shop class, or in sewing class that he decided to put a hook through and turn into a festive decoration. Probably because they weren’t much good for anything else. They always make us laugh.
The homemade ones are my favorite because they transport me to a time when the kids didn’t drive themselves around and tell me when they would be home. It was a time when their touch on my skin left a sticky mystery goo. When they would stay in their pajamas all day long if I didn’t change them. When they fell asleep in my lap. It was a time when I could solve their problems.
So I love to look at those ornaments and remember when Drake used to wear his hoodie over his head but tucked behind his ears, causing them to stick straight out. Or when Emery had chubby cheeks. Or when Makenna was in preschool and Josiah didn’t have any front teeth. I feel stuffed with the memories. It’s like Carson said on Downton Abbey, “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that’s all there is.”
And as much as I love to be transported to that memory-rich time, I have to remind myself every year to get caught up in this moment – step into now and get carried away in it. Because right now will be a memory soon. And as wise old Carson further said, “There’s a time coming when memories will outweigh dreams.” So far, my dreams have been fickle – always changing or disappointing. But memories: that’s something worth making.