Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflections

After I finished reading scriptures this morning I sat looking at the lights blinking on the Christmas tree. I could hear the individual tinkle as each light that twinkles would go on and off. My husband is starting to find the lights annoying, but they are a part of my past, so I will cut down on the number of blinking lights in the future. I may have gone over board this year....lol.

It occurred to me that the tree is looking more and more like the one I grew up with than the one my children did.
Each year I search for ornaments that are like the ones we had on the tree when I was a child. I've found Italian indent ornaments with different scenes, though we only had one when I was growing up. I've purchased a snowman, an angel and others for my children's collections. The stencil ornaments like the Silent Night one you see above is one I want to incorporate into a design I have in mind, but we had several of those.
Oh sure, I still have a lot of the home made ornaments like the angel in the photo above, as well as the tin can lid punched heart ornament and the hand painted bird house. The counted cross stitch ornament below is another I made years ago, as well as the cinnamon star with snowman painted on him and the wooden soldier I made out of a tree branch and popcicle sticks. As my children have grown up though I have passed some of those along to them.
So why not ask my parents for some of the old ornaments? Well, after their divorce our living conditions dropped dramatically. At one point we lived in a tiny home that was pepto bismol pink with white trim. It seemed to be a favorite haven for earwigs, which are evil looking creatures that find their way into everything. It was so bad we had to shake our clothes out before putting them on as there might be one lurking in a pant leg. Ugghhh, I still get shivers thinking about it. The wood stove in the living room had a pipe that would separate sometimes so we would wake up smelling like we'd been camping. Not good for a teenager who liked to smell pretty so as to attract boys attention. The second summer we were there we had a grease fire when someone forgot to turn off the burner under the frying pan full of oil, or perhaps my little brother had turned the burner back on. Let me tell you it was a blessing in some ways. So we moved into a better place in a better location with no bugs but the occasional spider all homes seem to have. That Christmas though we discovered that our Christmas decorations were missing. They had been in the shed at the old place and were forgotten in all the turmoil going on then. We went back to find them, but they were gone. Oh, it was devastating indeed as we were so poor and surely couldn't afford to buy all new stuff! Our hearts were broken as we knew we would never be able to replace the different and what we thought were unique ornaments we had. And yes, some will never be replaced as we had done up some satin ball ornaments with sequins that turned out so pretty. Luckily for us Mom had some good friends who came to our rescue and bought us all gifts and had us over for dinner and such to help brighten our Christmas and try to make up for what we had lost. Their kindness has never been forgotten though they are long gone.

So fast forward to today, with ebay and yard sales and second hand stores as well as antique stores. I have been searching and finding some to replace the ones lost. No, most aren't in very good shape but I still hope against hope that I will be able to find nice ones that can be passed on.
Why go through all the trouble you may be thinking. There is always an air of excitement when the decorations are pulled out and we gather to dress up the tree. I remember as a child having my favorites, and yes, we did argue about who could hang what each year until Mom decided to have us take turns. She always seemed to know from year to year, who hung what the year before. My children had their own as each has a themed ornament collection so that wasn't a problem. When the tree is done we can all sit back and enjoy our efforts together. My grandson brought it home to me last week as he came over for a visit and had me sit with him on the floor as we looked up at the tree. He tucked his tiny hand in mine and made little comments on the different ornaments and we just enjoyed the twinkling lights and the time together. I want my children and grandchildren to have a piece of the past to carry forward, and I want them to feel the same pleasure we did as we dressed up the tree and then sat and enjoyed the light show on the walls and listened for the twinkling lights. I want them to have a glimpse of what it was like for us before our world came apart, and I want them to build the same memories with their children. Time is so precious, so sharing peaceful, quiet, reflective times help strengthen bonds. Sure we could do that with any ornaments on the tree, but since my children never knew my mom, I want to find ways to share a part of her in all our family gatherings. This is just one way I can do that.

6 comments:

Shes Off Her Rocker said...

Very sweet Sheryl! I also lost a bunch of treasured childhood ornaments! All those wooden toy ones from the 60's and 70's are my favorites...and the indent ones too.
Seems like you could make ornaments to pass on...they are much more valuable than any mass produced thing and would be to your kids and grandkids, too!!
Happy almost New Year and Happy creating!
Brandi

Doreen said...

What a wonderful post Sheryl..not the tragic parts..but the stories of your life...your Christmases and ornaments.

Love the pictures of your tree ...so very beautiful.

Wishing you a joyous New Year.

Doreen

Ev said...

Isn't that exactly what Christmas is about, Sheryl ... all the memories - good & difficult. What an adventure collecting them again now. You never forget the Christmas Tree of your childhood, do you. That's why it's such a gift and blessing to your own children and grandchildren, that you are making the magic happen for them.

Sheryl Parsons said...

Thanks for the thoughts Brandi, you are thinking along the same lines. I have plans to make some duplicates of our past ornaments for the family if they want some. Plans sometimes don't work out, but I'm going to try...lol.
Happy New Year to you as well!

Sheryl Parsons said...

Thank you Doreen, for the sweet sentiments! We can learn so much from both the good and the bad if we reflect and try to do better.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year as well!

Sheryl Parsons said...

Yes Ev, the good and the bad memories seem to go hand in hand. My childhood memories of most Christmas events were good. My children were unfortunately not so lucky but we are all trying to move beyond that. My way of sharing my memories is to encourage them to make better ones than they remember. I like that you used the word "magic" as that is what Christmas can be, "magical" if we try.

Happy New Year to you!