So much for posting daily about our Christmas traditions…life kept me too occupied for that.
I could go on and on about how my heart was broken this weekend and how raising a teen-aged girl is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. I could rehash all of the details, shed some more tears, feel more regret, delve further seeking a deeper understanding…but I won’t. It is almost Christmas after-all, a time for joy.
Instead, I will ramble on about another of our traditions…one that is near and dear to my heart.
Every Christmas since the kids were born, I’ve bought them each an ornament. That ornament generally has something to do with a milestone or memory that was shared during the previous year. Taking the top off of the ornament bin each year is like lifting the lid off a treasure trove of memories. When we decorate the tree, with the carols on in the background, the kids each hang their own collection. Memories are revisted of seasons past. I hang the first 5 ornaments on the tree, they are always the photo ones of the kids on their first Christmases…and I need to make certain they receive priority placement on the tree. 😉
Sierra Marie’s first Christmas-1992, she was 2 weeks shy of 1 year old.
Jared Chaloner’s first Christmas-1995, he was only 8 days old.
Shawn Michael’s first Christmas-2000, he was 5 1/2 months old.
Malia Kensie’s first Christmas-2002, she was 5 1/2 months old.
Kassia Rachel’s first Christmas-2004, she was 6 months old.
Some of the ornaments bring back memories of “phases” the kids went through–like Jared’s fondness for Star Wars and his Obi Wan ornament, Shawn’s love for firetrucks, or Malia and Kasi’s Princess ones. Others remind us of accomplishments, like Sierra’s ice-skate (the year she learned how), her field hockey one or the book one from the year she learned to read. Each one holds a special place in my heart. We find the perfect ornament when on vacation too, there is one up there of a hula dancing Santa from our Maui honeymoon in 1999 and various other trips.
Like this one from our 2006 venture to the White Mountains in New Hampshire… where we went in the glacial caves on Loon Mountain, enjoyed the foliage, hiked the flume gorge and spent priceless time together. This years family ornament is Mickey Mouse, from our August surprise vacation to Disney World. I will forever cherish those memories.
Sierra’s ornament this year will says “New Driver”, since this is the year she learned to drive. She is due to get her license in just a few weeks!
Jared’s 2008 “memory jogger” is of a locker and the year he went to Junior High. This has been quite a year for him, he is learning a new language (Spanish), made the Honor Roll, made the “A Team” in Travel Soccer, got a cell phone and his voice changed. 🙂
When I asked Shawny what he wanted to remember most about 2008, he replied…”hmm…Disney”. I said, “besides that”…so he mentioned his home run. This year in baseball, he hit TWO home runs…on the same day, no less. It was quite an exciting day for him…and a proud one for his Mom. 🙂
Miss Malia started Kindergarten this year, and there’s no stopping her now. She is on cloud 9 every day, and absolutely loves it. She gets upset on the weekends, because there isn’t school…so this Christmas break could be a looooooooong one for her. 🙂
“Kasi Girl” ‘s ornament this year is destined to be nostalgic. She has a rather large affinitity for hippos. She has a collection of hippo stuffed animals which she has been known to carry with her all around town. So, when I saw this, it naturally made me think of her. It plays a song, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do….” and Santa is trying to fit the darned thing down the chimney. She LOVES it and has memorized the words. I know that through the years, when she hangs this on the tree…I will look back on the memory of my littlest girl at this Christmas season and smile.
A moment of glancing at the tree, can send me down memory lane and I return with a smile on my face. As I noted above, this tradition and collection is so precious to me.
The ornament that stood out the most to me this morning was this one. It is Sierra’s. The year she received it, it was to remember that she accepted Jesus as her Savior that summer. I will never forget the phone call. She was away at Bible camp with our church and she called me to share the news with me. I hung up the phone with tears in my eyes. My little girl had Jesus in her heart. She had Him to walk beside her through life, to guide her and pick her up when she falls. I cling to that nowadays especially. The teen years are hard on everyone involved…hard on the child, heartbreaking for parents. I know my teen years put my own parents through the ringer. I find myself relying even heavier on my faith these days. I know God never gives you more than you can handle…and that I am supposed to “let go, and let God.” When I fail to do this, I fail to meet my own expectations as a mother. I did that this weekend, and I have forgiven myself, knowing and trusting that God has forgiven me. So it is with that trust and faith that I am looking forward. Looking back doesn’t get you anywhere and you might miss what is ahead on the horizon. A good friend of mine at church told me something very important this weekend. She said, “Kaylene, you have laid the foundation for her. She knows right from wrong, she knows what you expect…and someday, she WILL come back to that. Trust that.” So, that is what I am doing. I am “trusting in the Lord will all my heart, leaning not unto my own understanding…acknowledging Him, and he will direct my paths.”
Merry CHRISTmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus. 🙂 Here’s to a year of hope and joy ahead.