Moms

Presence, not presents

A glimpse of a Christmas past in the Garlock household, where new traditions are being created this year.
A glimpse of a Christmas past in the Garlock household, where new traditions are being created this year.

There’s no freshly cut Fir silhouetted in the front window… Nor is there an artificial pre-lit southern pine… Instead, I elected to pull last year’s pint-sized, fully bedecked tree from its plastic storage bucket and declared it ‘done’ once again.

I don’t miss the trees from Christmases past as much as I long for my children and the traditions we shared surrounding the season…

I still have stacked boxes of Christmas ornaments, a tall tub of wrapping paper and containers of decorations locked away in storage, though the ensemble is a bit lighter since the girls took custody of their personal collection of treasures…

For at least sixteen years, we’ve given our children ornaments to be opened on Christmas Eve; it is one of two rituals we’ve intentionally maintained while learning to live this ‘new’ normal. I select each ornament with care so that it’s meaningful, representative of them in some way; the defining characteristics have evolved over the years as have they…

I know the importance of traditions, but a willingness to adapt is important too… This year, I’ve included Beth’s and Grace’s significant others in the ornament gift giving as well as the other part of the routine: the presentation and donning of new pjs on Christmas Eve…

And while I don’t believe the time has yet come, I look forward to the day when we divide Brian’s ornaments between his sisters, giving them a tangible link to long-ago holiday celebrations with their brother. I hope this tradition will be continued when they start families of their own, twining the past and present with the future.

Here’s the thing…as much as we miss Brian, my father-in-law, my grandparents and everyone else we love who’s gone on, we’re continually learning how to better cherish this time…living in the moment, sharing this time together, fully here, right now…

Our presence is the best present we can possibly give…

Wishing you every blessing at Christmas and into the New Year…

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