Every year when we decorate the tree we keep an eye out for that one ornament. It’s as big around as a quarter and plain blue, the only one left from the first set of glass ornaments my parents bought when they got married in the 40s. I’m proud to be the one who inherited it when they were gone, and my daughter will inherit it after me, assuming it survives yet more years of Christmas duty.
Christmas is, of course, a time when most of us think about family and tradition, at least those of us who celebrate the holiday and who are lucky enough to have family, and traditions. My family has lots of traditions around this holiday, including stockings and church services and cinnamon rolls for brunch, but this is the oldest. We switched to an artificial tree and stopped hanging all the lights outside and quit sending cards years ago, and sometimes we just set up the 2-foot tabletop tree if there won’t be many people here for the holiday, but no matter what, when we get together to decorate the tree, everyone watches for the little blue ornament.
I love this ornament, not because I’m so enamored of the ball of glass, but of what it represents: a link with my parents, a link with my children. In that little blue ball is a tiny image of the chain of life that is my family.There is nothing more important. Still, I know the ornament will break someday. It’s paint is already scratched and chipped and it can’t last forever. When it finally goes, if I’m still around, I will probably tear up. I’ll whisper an apology to my father that I couldn’t keep it safe. But I won’t have a superstitious shivery feeling that this means something bad for my family. It might work that way in fiction, where the ornament could be a metaphor and breaking it could foreshadow a family tragedy of some kind (hmmm. . . taking notes), but not in real life. If something bad happens to one of us it won’t be the magical result of a bit of Christmas clumsiness (it will probably be physics). And if it does, we’ll pull together and we’ll get through, one way or another.
Still, the little blue ornament is special to me. A little circle of family. I’m glad it’s here, for one more Christmas at least..
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Circle”