a scrapbook made of ornaments

When I was growing up, I was the girl who had pictures cut out of magazines, posters and photographs decorating my room.  At college the wall of my dorm room was a collage of memories and pictures of things that made me smile.  I have never been one to feel comfortable living in a space that looks like a magazine.  Carpets vacuumed into straight lines make me feel like I can't breath.  From what I have described I'm sure you can start to imagine what my Christmas tree looks like.  Full from top to bottom with memories.  I love getting all the ornaments out each year.  And now I have four little ones (i'm sure London will join in the anticipation next year) that look forward to it just as much as I do.  Our ornaments tell the story of our family.  It is like a scrapbook made of ornaments.  A favor from a Christmas wedding, a cloth bell handmade by their great-grandmother, a bear on a snowboard from a trip to WV, the hand made ones with pictures from years past, each one tells another story of our team.

Out of all the ornaments, though, my favorite ones are my children's "year" ornaments.  Every Christmas we give each of our children a new ornament to hang on the tree.  The "year" ornaments somehow symbolize that year for the child.   This one of two little boys looking in the window of a train shop is one of my favorites.  It brings back so many memories of all the hours we spent looking at and playing with the trains.... trains that have now been left for older adventures.

As we pull out each one, the children want to know the story behind the ornament.  "Why was this one chosen for me?"  Starting with our oldest, we began purchasing the "year" ornaments while we were waiting for them to come.  Some of the ornaments tell the story of a life growing inside my womb.  And then there are two ornaments on the tree that always make me fight a tear from gathering in my eyes.  Two precious ornaments that symbolize a Christmas of waiting for two precious little girls to come home.  Each year as we take those ornaments out of their wrappers, I look at the beautiful faces next to me and say a prayer of thanksgiving that my daughters are home.

It is also a reminder to pray for all of the families who wait during this Christmas season.  To the families who feel the pain from having their hearts separated from their children.  During a time of the year when we are all constantly reminded of family and home,  it can be difficult to be waiting with no sure information of when you will be able to bring your children home.  As we hung their stocking that year that we waited I wanted so desperately to know what my daughter would want to find in a stocking.  I wanted to know my daughter.  The memory of the pain of waiting makes the knowing so much sweeter.  This year I know that one daughter will squeal with delight to find nail polish and another will be over the moon to discover a anything superhero.  It is a beautiful thing to be known.  

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