Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Frog on a Tree

We finished decorating the inside of the house today.  It's not the same, now that Austin is gone, but some very special memories somewhat filled the holes.  The afternoon was spent pulling out the indoor decorations and our collections of mangers and many, many snowmen.  After Tim assembled the tree, Noah, Tina, and I completed the base of ribbon, bows and coordinated ornaments, saving the sentimentals for the end. 

Tina commented she didn't know we'd have room to add the two boxes of ornaments which remained.  Each ornament was a special gift,  vacation memento, or one of our yearly additions.  There are so many stories and memories nestled inside the two shoe boxes and we spent some time reminiscing.  With the seashell angel, we recalled our once in a lifetime Disney Cruise vacation and finding her while browsing the streets at port in the Bahamas.  Then there was the firefighter mouse, a gift for Tim one of our first years together, and one of the few he hangs.  Noah hung his first ornament, pausing for a picture, a yearly tradition.

With a tearful heart, I quietly hung my firstborn's, as he is no longer able.  Flashbacks of our 14 Christmases with him filled my mind.  I can remember holding Austin, not even six months old, and hanging his tiny bear.  Every year he grew, towering over that little bear in the end, so big he could hide the ornament in his hand.  But he'd pause and smile sweetly at me so I could capture a photo memory.  Noah reached in for our memorial ornament of Austin, bringing me back to this moment in time.  While it's a painful reminder, it also brings me comfort remembering our last day with him, how easily he stretched to place the angel on our tree, and how very precious those memories are now.  Noah hung it near the top of our tree, right under the angel that he now adds in his brother's place.

Knowing that Tina would be joining us and our yearly traditions, I decided to surprise her with her own special ornament.  I know this year has to be difficult too, being away from her mom and family. 

We know what it's like to miss someone, especially during the holidays. 
I wanted something that would be hers and made her feel like a part of
our family customs.  She thought we were finished but Noah ran out of the room telling her we had one last thing to do. 

Returning with a small gift bag, he asked her to sit.
She nervously opened the bag and squealed with delight
at what she found inside.

Tina loves animals...and bugs, but especially frogs.  Of the few things from her past she managed to hold onto, she's happy to have part of her frog collection.  Lining the top of her desk, the smiling green reptiles greet you as you enter the room.  I knew a frog would be a perfect addition to our tree and would let her feel a piece of her was on it.  She loved his cute little face and crown and eagerly jumped up to add him.

Each time I see the frog, I'll be reminded of her and I hope he brings her as much happiness as she has us.  It's been an adjustment for all of us but we feel blessed to share our home with her.  We are thankful to have her not just in our home but a part of our lives.


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