I trimmed the first of our three trees this weekend. It is fake, in terms of material, but holds more emotional weight for me than any of our others. We also do a real tree, very cabin/rustic-themed, and a small tree in our boys room, which holds their ornaments. But it is the fake tree which always makes me cry.
Throughout the years, I have assembled an array of decor, some Christmas-themed, others not, which serve as ornamentation for the tree. On almost every trip we take, I return with something to capture the moment. Almost every ornament tells a story of a time, place, and people, and trimming the tree always leaves me, at some point, in tears.
Some may ask, then why bother? To me, feeling such emotions is the entire point of being alive, and I cherish each and every tear.
There was a time in my life where I couldn't, or wouldn't, allow myself to cry. I was afraid of what lay beneath my surface, and was certain that even the slightest crack in my veneer would prompt a flood the size of which it would be impossible to recover.
But eventually I was faced with just such an emotional tsunami, and found that indeed I was somehow able to survive.
On the tree, there hangs a baby blue shoe, to celebrate Mason's first year on earth. There are numerous items which Russ, the boys, and I have bought together, as a family. There are also toenail clippers from the Eiffel Tower and a Pope bottle opener, which came from my first trip to Europe, with Shane. There are also ornaments bought on trips with my ex, which always cause me pause.
And each and every one of our 57 nutcrackers tells a story. Shane left his collection to me, as his mother began giving him German nutcrackers to commemorate special occasions. I've continued the tradition with our boys, and they each get a nutcracker every Christmas eve.
It is not the number of things we have that is important, however. It is the stories they tell, the memories they encapsulate, and the emotions they trigger.
Tell your stories. Pass on the traditions. And feel every moment.
Causes Kergan Edwards-Stout Supports
AIDS Services Foundation/Orange County, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Literary