We were decorating our Christmas tree on Saturday when it happened.
I have these ornaments that are special to me. They're from my childhood and when my mom passed away my sister and I divided them between us. They always sit front and centre on our tree reminding me of my mom and memories from Christmases past. Unfortunately, the ornaments are also quite delicate and through the years some have broken—there are only four left that are whole.
These four resilient ornaments needed hooks so we had set them aside and when my oldest son asked if he could be the one to put the hooks on, I said yes.
He tried his hardest to hold it gently in his hands but he squeezed too hard and the ornament shattered. I was upset and with tears in my eyes told him how it was all I had left of my mom. I could see the tears in his eyes as he walked away and felt sick to my stomach.
You know that feeling, right? When you know you have completely and totally screwed up big time. So I called him over, hugged him and told him how I made a mistake. My memories aren't in an ornament, they're in my heart. The ornament isn't symbolic of anything except how I got caught up in the "stuff" of Christmas. His feelings are more important to me than any ornament ever could be but I had lost sight of that for a moment. A moment that caused me to hurt him. Then I apologized and asked him to forgive me.
It's easy to get caught up in the stuff, isn't it? The decorating and shopping, the beautifully wrapped gifts, and the holiday card updates.
But it's not the stuff, it's the moments and spending time with the people you love creating memories they will hold in their heart like I hold my mom in mine. You would think the lesson ends here but it doesn't.
The next morning my son came downstairs with his hands behind his back still sleepy from what I would discover was a very late night for him. "Mom," he said. "I have a surprise for you but it might make you cry."
You see, while I was carrying empty ornament boxes to the basement, he had gone into the kitchen and dug my mother's ornament out of the garbage and while I was in bed sleeping, he had stayed awake and painstakingly glued it back together.
I did cry. Because he gave me the best gift I could ever receive. It isn't about the stuff, it's about showing our loved ones we care and that's not done through gifts or fancy wrapping, it's through thoughtfulness and love.
The tears rolled down my face as he gently placed that broken, cracked ornament in my hand and when he apologized that it wasn't the same anymore, I cried a bit harder.
So if you're getting stressed about the shopping and gifts, when you're ready to snap because your cookies burnt or you've run out of tape while wrapping, remember that the spirit of the season isn't in the Pinteresty perfection of it all, it is in the imperfection of this cracked ornament.
My son was right, it is no longer the same, it's better because it was glued back together with love.