Putting Away the Christmas Tree

While I was taking down the Christmas tree I started to pause and look at some of the ornaments.  Many brought back a flood of memories.  The ornament that commemorates "our first Christmas" as a married couple, our sons' first Christmas ornaments and our daughter's.  She has the most because she arrived six weeks before Christmas, she was the girl and a lot of people assumed she would be our last child.
One ornament given to her by a friend of ours depicted a crystal ballerina dangling inside a frame in gold with my daughter's name and "1st Christmas."  One year it fell off the tree and I heard the ping and crack of the crystal.  I picked it up gingerly, thinking, "Well, she does have others!"  As I looked at it more closely I literally started laughing uncontrollably.  No longer did a ballerina dangle from the frame, but a perfectly formed elephant that now is added to my daughter's immense collection!
There are of course, the ornaments our children made, some of paper or felt.   Some are scribblings made when they first started school and others a bit more sophisticated as they got older.  There's even a birdhouse with bird seed. 
One of my favorites is a Buzz Light Year ornament.  Buzz is holding a frame that contains a picture of our last dog and our youngest son.  "Red" was a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback and in the picture she was in her prime.  My younger son has his arms lovingly around her and to this day I believe he was her favorite.  Red never got out of her favorite chair to greet me, but #2 son could go in and out of the house every five minutes and she would get up from her 23 hour nap to greet him like she hadn't seen him in months!
Another ornament is a gift from my friend of forty-plus years.  Two snowmen (snow-women?) stand together, branched arms holding a heart.  The other side says, "Friendship Warms the Heart" and in those many years, it certainly does.
I pack everything away in sadness.  Christmas seems to be over too quickly.  I miss the feeling of anticipation that I get as it approaches.  Putting the tree away is something I do put off, but I hang on to the memories of our life displayed through those ornaments and how once again I'll take them out of storage to celebrate where it all came from.

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