For more than twenty years, I have managed to preserve all of my childrens’ homemade Christmas ornaments that they made in Kindergarten. These ornaments trigger some of my most precious memories. Each ornament was made to resemble a gingerbread-person, topped with a cut out photograph of my childrens’ faces. They were painted and decorated by their little hands and have proudly hung on the Christmas tree every year.
This morning, my husband and I built our new Christmas train around the tree, (now that we live near a train, I HAD to buy Chris a train for the tree!) hung the white lights and the shiny red, silver and green balls. It was finally time to break open the special decorations – the really meaningful ones, gingerbread people included.
I was aghast (defined as “struck with overwhelming shock; filled with sudden horror”) when I realized that over the year of storage, water had gotten into the plastic bins and the homemade ornaments had absorbed most of the moisture. They were covered with mold and broke into little pieces when I touched them.
I can’t fully articulate the sadness I felt as I gently rescued these precious homemade crafts and placed them on the kitchen table. It felt like a death. I’m not one to hold onto “stuff” but at that moment, I was definitely feeling a deep loss. I thought of the character,Tevye in my favourite movie, “Fiddler on the Roof” as he struggled so intensely with the threat of losing his family and cultural TRADITIONS. There’s something enchanting and comforting about tradition but as Woody Allen once said, “Tradition is the illusion of permanance” and things don’t last forever.
As I was pondering, I heard my husband snickering in the background. In the midst of this great tragedy…
…the water-stained homemade angel that my daughter had made seemed to be looking over this disaster and saying “DAMN”, not “DAWN”.
That’s exactly how I felt. It was a good moment. And it made me laugh. Things don’t last forever.