I had to do a very sad thing today. I boxed up and mailed my oldest child her ornament collection. I guess this means that she is officially grown up and moved away, but I still don't like the idea of it all.
My family has a tradition of exchanging a Christmas ornament every year. Each person gets one ornament that is supposed to represent something special for that year.
We started exchanging ornaments back when I was in high school. The idea was that when my sister and I married and moved away, we would have ornaments to decorate our first tree. The tradition continued, and as our children were born they were included in the exchange.
Because the ornaments have special meanings, it's a nice way to remember our favorite family stories.
There was the time that we were camping, and PJ didn't want to take part in any of the campground's activities. Gramma managed to talk him into going to play Bingo with her, and he actually won. After that, we couldn't get him to stay at the camp site; he wanted to spend all his time at the rec hall in case they did Bingo again.
And of course a favorite family story is how my youngest decided she wanted to be cow when she grew up.
Some of the ornaments represent special achievements and activities. Cari received a flute one year because she was in the band. And one year, Becka was remembered for learning to sew.
PJ's trip to NYC to visit his big sister had to be commemorated.
Some years, the ornaments exchanged reflected the recipient's hobbies, like Becka's elephant obsession or my teapot collection.
Because of the tradition, my daughter's tree will be filled with wonderful memories.
The problem is, I didn't realize that by letting her take her ornaments I had to let them go. To her, it's the first ornament in her collection. For me, it was the first Christmas with my baby.