Frankie with her Christmas present

I took down the Christmas tree today. It’s like putting away my past. Every year since my daughter was born, I have obtained two ornaments- one with the year on it and one that is associated with some memory or other of that year. It was a pug ornament this year, a standard baby’s 1st Christmas the year my Kate was born. She is a December baby. We have been on our own since she was a baby, just the two of us in a crazy world.

Books and stories helped us survive, and the mundane pace of everyday life faded into great adventure. It is all there on our tree every year. There are Harry Potter ornaments, ballet slippers, Mickey Mouse, snow globes, etc- a recounting of the years.

All the petty things that life threw at us were countered by dragons that could be slain (The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien), a boy raised by a sorceress to slay an evil god (The Belgariad by David Eddings), a boy kept in cupboard under the stairs who was really a wizard (Harry Potter by JK Rowling), a genius boy used by his government to wipe out an entire alien species (Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card),a little hobbit entrusted to overcome temptation and destroy a great evil (Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien), wardrobes with whole worlds within (The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis), journeys back in time with vivid descriptions of the Dark Ages (The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis), witnessing the building of Canterbury Cathedral through imagination blending with history (Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet), and hundreds of great tales on pages of black and white. How the world expands when we read and when we write.

My daughter is traveling back from spending New Years in New York City. In May, she will graduate from college and plans to move to New York to find and follow her dreams and make her own stories. I think 2016 will feature some sort of NYC ornament. Of course, it is impossible to know what will happen next. Still, it is time to put away the past and look forward. Always, there will be more stories to tell, to read, and to live. Each year I spend here in this time and place will yield another ornament with its own tale to tell. So until next year, the past is put in its place.



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