Christmas at our house includes a lot of traditions. One of them is presenting my kids with an ornament for the tree that represents something that happened that year, or something important to them at that time of their lives.
There's a Spiderman for the year my younger son spent most of his time in a Spidey costume and perfected climbing the walls. A karate figure for the year he got his black belt. Santa reaching for the stars when he got accepted at college.
The older son, who was born to fly, gets one of the Hallmark airplane series every year. There's a robot for the year he was into robotics competition, a violin for the year he got first chair ... well. You get the idea. Most years they get more than one, so it has accumulated into quite a collection. Putting them on the tree and sharing the memories each one brings has always been a treasured event.
So it came as a bittersweet moment this week when the older son showed up with a box and asked for his ornaments. He's putting up his first tree in his own home, and it was always the intent that the kids' collections would go with them when the time came.
We brought up the bin and sorted through, this one is yours, this is your brother's - do you remember when we went to the lake? You made this one in kindergarten. This set came for you from your grandmother, and I know she'd want you to have them.
I was touched to see how much the ornaments meant to him. And I love the thought that they will always bring back happy times for him. That was the intent all along. But it was really hard to see them go.