then and now, with a snowshoeing hedgehog

When we put up our Christmas tree, the past floats around me like big, iridescent soap bubbles. The beaded and crocheted ornaments my little granny made almost 40 years ago, the engraved kitten in a stocking from the year I was born, the sand dollar I protect from four-year-old hands just like my mother did when we were little.

Mostly, the memories I linger in are the oldest ones, the ones in our growing-up living room. When my mom laid out the ornaments on the old couch. When the five of us decorated the tree together. And managed to do it mostly without fighting. 

Thinking of those times, I am both smiling and a little sad. I'm grateful when my child's voice brings me back to the present, where she is thrilled to have found the perfect spot for a snowshoeing hedgehog. And when she shows a distinct preference for clumps of tinsel, she is so like my father that I am reminded: the past and present are not all that far apart.

During a time of year that can bring strong reminders of happy (or not so happy) times past, I love you. And you are not alone.