My father brought over my mother's Giant Angel Chimes. She's had them since I was a child.
He and my husband put it together, lit the candles and the soft, gentle melodic ringing began.
Instantly, I was a child again, remembering how my brothers and I loved those chimes. Hovering around the coffee table, faces as close as we could get, mesmerized by the turning of the angels and the sound of the chime.
We were hypnotized.
In time, the enchanted faces and ears were those of my four daughters and then finally my son as they watched it spin and sing.
My father brought it over tonight at my request.
I want to see my precious, four year old, grandson stare and listen intently.
I want hear his million "why" questions.
I want to capture the look on his face.
Such feelings overwhelmed me...
I remember happy Christmas's as a child and some not so sweet.
The year I got my K2 snow skis was a good year. We were a skiing family and spent every weekend on Mt. Hood in our little cabin, flying down the mountain by day and sitting by the coal stove at night. But my parents always fought about Sunday, because my mother wanted us in church not speeding down a mountain. Sometimes we visited the little community church in the area and then headed up to the mountain. Later, we discovered a small gathering of worshipers who met in the lodge on Sunday mornings. Even better, the sermon was short leaving more time for the snow.
I remember a Christmas when my brother and I sneaked into my parent's bedroom and began rummaging through their closet. Our folks were gone for the day. Knowing Santa wasn't real, we thought perhaps our Christmas presents were hidden there. We were right! We pulled each item down and gleefully examined them. Then carefully replaced them. My parents never knew. On Christmas morning we opened all of our gifts knowing what each package held. There were no surprises that year, though we pretended. It was a sad and disappointing Christmas for me and I learned my lesson well.
Then there was the Christmas our tree came crashing down in the middle of the night. Most of mom's beautiful hand blown glass ornaments she had collected for years broke into a million pieces. She cried. My dad fixed it as best he could securing the tree to the wall with fishing line and eye hook.
After that, my mom gave up on collecting anymore glass blown ornaments.
My mom loved beautiful things, but beautiful things break.
Eventually, my mom never put up a tree or decorated in any way. My dad said for the last five years he would put out the Giant Angel Chimes and light them.
Now they are in my home where they belong.
Just behind the angel chimes is a hand carved wooden camel. He was carved in Lebanon, Israel and belonged to my grandmother. My mother's mother. At one time, there were three of them in a caravan, but over the years they'd been lost. My mother gave me the last existing camel the first Christmas after my grandmother passed away.
He stood proudly on my fireplace mantel.
That is until my husband accidentally knocked him down late one night. I was already in bed and didn't discover him until early the next morning. His head and one leg were broken off. My husband had attempted to glue him back together, but it hadn't dried yet.
I cried thinking about my grandmother and mother gone before me. I cried thinking about how it feels as if many of the things I hold dear get ruined or broken. I cried because I knew this holiday season would be my first without my mother.
I cried knowing I've missed mother for a long time, even when she was alive.
The camel is glued together now and standing tall on my coffee table. He'll never be the same, but he is mended.
Just as God is mending my broken heart, little by little, slow by slow, steady stitch.
Someday the holes will be healed over, but there will always be scars.
I am broken.