Friday, December 16, 2011

The Importance of Ornaments

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The tree is a Christmas icon.  If you celebrate Christmas, you most likely set up a tree.  What do we put on those trees?  Why, lights and ornaments, of course.  We all have our preferences for ornaments.  Some of us like to have a particular theme, say all balls of one color with tinsel to match, or a couple of different colors.  Maybe you collect a certain type of ornament.  You could collect all Star Trek ornaments, birds, nutcrackers, angels, or snowmen, to name a few.

I personally have a lot of different ornaments on my tree.  I love Mickey Mouse, so now that Nick and I are combining our ornaments on our tree, I like to add at least one Mickey Mouse ornament each year.  I also add an ornament to the tree for each year Nick and I have been together.  This year it was a Mickey Mouse picture frame ornament, though I’d already selected a Hallmark Mickey Mouse ornament as well.  Two Mickey Mouse ornaments are always better than one!

Since my daughter was born, it’s also become very important to me to put an ornament on the tree each year for her.  If I were raising my daughter, I’d either allow her to choose an ornament for herself every year or I’d select one for her if she was too young to select one herself.  I also strongly believe that putting an ornament on the tree for her every year is a way of not only honoring her, but honoring the choice I made to place her.

Some people might argue that placing an ornament on the tree for my daughter every year when I’d do it anyway is rather like allowing a fantasy to continue where I’m raising her myself.  Fantasies and what-ifs are a valid grieving mechanism to relieve ourselves from the pain, even temporarily.  Other people might say that putting an ornament on their trees for children that they’re not raising only serves as a reminder of what they’re missing every year.  Both are reasonable arguments, and I agree with both.

This holiday season has been particularly rough for me – more than it was last year.  I have no idea why, there’s no logical reason.  But it is what it is.  I’ve made ornaments previously for my daughter (Christmases 1 & 2), but this year’s ornament is still not finished.  All I have to do is put the printed picture in the ornament ball, put some “foliage” in with it and I’m done, but I cannot bring myself to complete it.  My AWESOME secret sister made ornaments for not only me & Nick, but our daughter too.  When I opened the box and saw those, I started crying.  Maybe I subconsciously knew that finishing the ornament for my daughter would cause me to cry and I’ve been avoiding that aspect.

Since Christmas is next Sunday, my goal is to have the ornament that I’m making for my daughter completed by the time this post is published.  I’ve already cried over an ornament for my daughter, so hopefully I won’t cry again.  It is okay to cry, I know, but it hurts too, and I’ve been trying to concentrate on the joy of the season instead of the grief.  I know that completing the ornament and putting it on the tree will be healing for me too, even if it causes me to cry again.

I leave you with a challenge: start a tradition of buying or making an ornament every year for your placed child.  I think you’ll find that even though it can be painful, it can be healing too.

1 comment:

  1. I also put an ornament on my tree for Marley. I get 2 of the same one and give her one of them for her birthday (her birthday is right before Christmas) so both her and I have matching ones. It lets me feel connected to her. Hopefully, when she's older, she will find this out.