We have a new guest staying with us for the holiday this year. Her name is Nostalgia and she is making quite the impression on my family. With my son in his senior year of high school, we are experiencing a year of lasts when it seems our year of firsts was not that long ago. We’ve unboxed a Christmas tree and delicate glass ornaments with kids for seventeen years but this time each ornament we pulled out felt heavier and heavier. Laden with emotion and memories, these delicate ornaments sprinkled around our tree felt like a time capsule that I wasn’t quite ready to open.
The last few years feel like they have been spent with our gear stuck in warp speed. Like most people, we are just trying to keep up with the crazy life that we have built. So much so, that the last handful of holidays have slipped right by. We have had a few holidays over the last several years where I couldn’t even commit to fully decorating our home. The Snow Village stayed in a box in the garage, and we hung just enough ornaments to keep our tree from looking like an overgrown house plant. But this year is different, and not just for me.
As we were pulling out the boxes of Christmas decorations that we have accumulated over the years of turning our house into a Turner Winter Wonderland, Harrison seemed to be the most helpful- the most engaged in decorating our home. Anyone with a seventeen year old boy knows if he is taking time away from his friends, girlfriend, (and let’s be honest) Whataburger that this is something he truly cares about. He dusted off the Snow Village box and took the time to precisely place each piece to create the most magical scene.
I watched Harrison all afternoon as we decorated, and with everything he picked up he spent a few extra moments looking at it as if he was wistfully remembering something. Every ornament was hung with precise movement and care. The memories collected over the years were hanging off delicate limbs and glowing with the warmth of twinkle lights. We all stood back as a family and looked at a tree that represents so much more this holiday; it represents a life that we have built together, moments shared as a family of four. It represents cherished places, sports teams, and the little hands of homemade masterpieces. It represents magic.
This might be our most emotional Christmas yet. Putting away the decorations will be a teary eyed task, but I’m reminding myself that while this might be a year of lasts, there is a wave of firsts on the horizon. Our family dynamic may change as Harrison packs his bags and heads off to college, but the heart of our family is only growing.
Next year we will have a new ornament hanging from our tree- Harrison’s college team. And, I can’t wait for him to come home in December and be the one who hangs it.
I wish you peace and happiness this holiday season. I hope it’s a time of embracing the blessings of the present, wistfully reminiscing in the meaningful moments of the past, and keeping your eyes and heart on the hope of what’s yet to come.
(See some of my favorite memories below!)