She lives on…

I love Christmas time. I love baking, Hallmark Christmas movies, fires in the fireplace, time with family, and I adore decorating the house for Christmas. My mom loved decorating for Christmas too. I wrote a few years ago about one of my favorite traditions of buying an ornament each year for the tree. My parents started the tradition when my sister and I were born. Taking these precious ornaments out of their original boxes causes a flood of wonderful memories each year.

This is the first year Keaton has really wanted to fully take part in decorating the Christmas tree. We flew back from Ohio on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Even though we didn’t get home until after 10 pm, Keaton and I were eager to get the tree up first thing Sunday morning. Each year Matthew lovingly helps and appreciates our ridiculous amount of enthusiasm during the process.

When I was little there were a few years…. or maybe ten, when I picked out Crayola themed ornaments. It was a collection from Hallmark and it started when I was probably about six. After ten years of Crayola ornaments I wanted to pick something else, but stuck until the collection was complete because of my mother. Although I didn’t want to keep picking out Crayola ornaments, I listened to my mother. She insisted I should complete the collection.

As we were decorating the tree, Keaton had the job of taking all the ornaments out of the boxes. He commented on each ornament and was so excited with the boat made out of a Crayola box, then a train, and rocking horse. I made a comment to Matthew about the million Crayola ornaments. Keaton looked at me and said, “They are my favorite.” As these simple words rolled off his tongue, a place deep in my heart was touched. A urging from my mother twenty years ago became my son’s favorite part of our tree.

When my mother died, many told me how she lives on through my sister and me. As much as these words meant well, they honestly didn’t bring much comfort for years. I didn’t care if she lived on through me, because she was gone and I wanted her, needed her. But 19 year later, seeing aspects of her through my son brings a smile to my face.

I remember when Keaton was born, wondering how I would ever begin to tell him about my mother… a grandmother he will never know. I realized in the moment he declared his love for the Crayola ornaments, the discussion will not be hard because I see so much of my mother in him. Each time he picks up a pen or Crayola in his little left hand, I am reminded of my mother being left-handed. As he laughs with his entire body, I am reminded of the infectious laugh of my mother. I never expected to see my mom in my son who will never know her. Instead of dreading the day I have to explain my mother and her death, I now know the discussion will include explaining how so much of his love of life and kindness reminds me daily of her. I look forward to the day I get to tell him about a woman who loved me completely, a woman who loved louder.

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