Mom’s Favorite Ornament

This is our second Christmas living in Utah.   Last year, we moved into our new house on December 19, so we didn’t put up a tree.  It was the first time in 76 years, I didn’t have a tree.  That was fine because we spent the holiday with our grandkids and their tree.   But this year, I was anxious to have a tree again.   This year.   In a year like no other, our tree, too, would be different.  In years past, I would  spend days carefully  placing the several hundred ornaments we’d accumulated over the years and reserving a spot in front of my favorite ornament to shine.   This year we have a new family member, a lovable but somewhat mischievous Tuxedo cat named Tyson that we rescued last year.  The first day I put up the tree (sans ornaments) I found Tyson IN the tree, a third of the way up.  A shout, a clap and a squirt from the water bottle seems to have taught him that this tree is not for climbing.  Still, I only decorated the top two-thirds of the tree, placing my favorite ornament higher than usual. Compromising with a cat comes easier at 76 than it would have at 50.

This week, as I reached behind the tree to plug in the lights, I stumbled, shaking the tree.   Ornaments shook and jingled and one, my favorite, fell to the floor, shattering into a hundred sparkling peices. I uttered that traditional holiday greeting … Oh Shit … and sadly swept up the remains.  I will admit to tearing up a bit as I dumped them into the trash, but then I let it go.   Long ago, my Mom had taught me that Christmas was not about Favorite Ornaments.

That was a Christmas when I was about twelve years old, I’d guess.  My mother liked clear ornaments, too, and her favorite was a crystal bell.   Since it was her favorite, it was my favorite.   This particular Christmas, an aunt and uncle … and their children … stopped by to visit.   I remember which aunt and uncle it was but in this online world, who knows will end up here on Bud’s Blog, so I won’t mention names.   As the adults were talking, I watched one of the cousins reach between the branches of my parents’ tree, wrap his fat little fingers around my mother’s favorite ornament, and squeeze until it burst with a pop.   I started to yell at the little monster but Mom interceded.  It’s OK, she said.  It’s only an ornament. She gave me one of those, You-Be-Quiet looks.   After the cousins left, I tried to bring it up again but all she said was, It’s Christmas, Buddy.

That’s how my Mom was.  Most lessons were taught by example, not by words.  She didn’t ever say, Christmas is about family, love and forgiveness, not about decorations.   But I got the message.  Most times, I even remember it …

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2 Comments on “Mom’s Favorite Ornament”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    Great message! Hopefully we can all remember it all year long.

  2. barrythewiz Says:

    … and Tuxedo in the sink is precious.

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