Monday, December 22, 2014

Shards of Memory

I have two Christmas trees at my house. The big one in the family room is where all the presents gather, where all the family gathers, and where most of the ornaments are hung. The little one in the entry is my most precious. On it hang all of the ornaments my children have made me over the last twenty years. Clay wreaths, popsicle stick stars, and angels with my children's faces. I love this tree. I answered the door last night to my visiting teachers. One commented on how cute my little tree was, and I explained that it was my "kid tree." We talked for a few minutes, exchanged "Merry Christmas!" and I closed the door. The entry rug had moved forward a few inches and was in the way, so I pulled it back, shut the door, and headed back to the dinner table.

Then, the unthinkable. The unimaginable. The heartbreaking.
My kid tree toppled, sprawling shards of my memories across the wood floor.

I couldn't speak.

Micah's first grade handprint of snowmen. Gone. The miniature glass ornaments I bought for Brad's work party years ago. Gone. The cinnamon holly with the names "Ellie and Nathan." Gone. And my favorite glass ball.
Originally clear, Micah had just last year swirled greens, blues, and yellows inside the orb, creating a beautiful  blown glass effect. It was my favorite, and I had hung it up high to protect it from little hands.


Hyrum hugged my legs in an attempt to comfort me. I barely felt his embrace. Eve walked barefoot through the disaster. I hardly registered the danger. Mechanically, I began sorting ornaments into ruined and salvaged piles. Tears swelled unbidden in my throat but never reached my eyes.

All those memories. Gone in a moment.

And all I could think was, "I'm glad I'm the one who did it, not one of my children. I would have said things I never could retract." Small solace.

I can't bring myself to rehang the salvaged ornaments. They're still in a pile on the entry table. Christmas is in three days. I'll carefully pack them away and think about it next year, when my heart has mended a little.


  1. This post made me tear up! My heart broke for the loss of your precious memories! Hugs to you Jen!

  2. I'm crying for you. I'm going to take a picture of all my ornaments this year when I take them down. So tragic!

  3. :( the one time i was never so happy to have carpet all over my house was this year when the tree fell down on top of me, and i'm just realizing it right now as my heart is aching for your ornaments lost b/c if we had hardwood all of mine would have been gone too. sad day!