I took down my Christmas tree today. Christmas, and the wonder of them past, present, and future, came close to me again for a few precious moments, as I lifted down an extraordinarily colorful Shrinky Dink star from the tree. It was a gift to me 11 years ago and has a picture of my 5 year-old Chris in the middle of it. I looked at his adorable smile, a tooth missing, gone to grace the collection of the Tooth Fairy. Wasn't this picture taken just days ago?
Oh no, now I've done it! I wiped away a miscreant tear sliding down my cheek, and wrapped the star carefully in some crinkly, re-cycled year-after-year tissue, and nestled it gently into the lap of my other Christmas Tree treasures, back into the storage box I had removed it from just a few short weeks ago. A bit of my heart found its way into the box, as well. It's just not possible for a mom to let her five-year-old leave for a whole year without going, too!
The warm memories stored in each ornament will be there waiting to tell me stories again next Christmas, and I'll be just as enthralled then, lifting them up to the twinkling branches for their command performance once more. I have to wonder though, as I do every year when I put Christmas away, will my tiny bit of heart find it's way back to me from the box or will it be gone with him to some far off Christmas of his own choosing, complete with a Kindergarten picture of his own small child pasted onto a brightly colored star?