Unpacking my Christmas ornaments is almost like time traveling. The ornament I got for my son a few days before he was born at the Bellmore Fair takes me back six years ago. The ornament from our cruise to Nova Scotia brings me back to circa 2005. The Happy Engagement ornament (2007). The New Home ornament (2009). The baby girl ornaments and family of four ornaments when Megan was born in 2013. I unwrap these treasures, covered in paper towel and nestled in shoe boxes, and the memories keep me company as I hang them on our tree.
There is one ornament, in particular, that I look forward to holding in my hand each year. The little bear with the bow in between her ears. If you look very, very closely, you can still see the crack on the bottom right paw.
This bear takes me back 26 years, when I was eleven years old. My grandparents bought me this ornament because they knew I loved teddy bears. It was my thing, even at eleven years old, when you might think a person could be getting a little old for teddy bears. I loved them regardless. Grandy and Grandma gave me this ornament and somehow, someway, I dropped it. The leg shattered and I remember crying huge, sad, regretful sobs at my clumsiness and the loss of this beautiful bear ornament.
My Grandy was a patient man. He could get knots out of necklaces with a needle and he could glue back pieces of a shattered bear ornament, thus calming an inconsolable granddaughter. He made it right.
And when I unwrap this little bear, year after year, I feel his patience, his kindness, his compassion, his goodness. I give the bear a place of honor on the tree, right up front, every year and I know love lives forever.