Today, 10 December, is my hubby and my 18th wedding anniversary. Although I say this often, it warrants repeating—our life has not turn out like we expected. Last year, I shared 17 bright sides of a childless Christmas in honor of our anniversary. This year, as I carefully unwrapped ornaments to decorate our big tree, I was reminded of beautiful memories, beautiful moments, beautiful people in our life. I’d like to share 18 of these beautiful moments from a childless life with you…
Beautiful Moments from a Childless Life
Beautiful Moment #1: A dragonfly
As I caught a glimpse of a sparkling dragonfly, I immediately smiled. My best friend, Jennifer (who went to Heaven in September), loved dragonflies and butterflies. Holding the ornament in my hand, I paused for a moment, feeling love overflowing and a gratefulness that she was and is and will always be my friend.
Beautiful Moment #2: An owl
A little, gold owl reminded me of Carla, Bruna’s sister. Most of you know that Bruna is our exchange daughter who has become family. Because of that, Carla is our family, too. She’s one of our girls, and we are so blessed that God brought her into our lives.
Beautiful Moment #3: From the National Cathedral
We love to buy Christmas ornaments when we travel. While visiting the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, we purchased one that is a miniature replica of the “Creation” window. This piece of stained glass reminds me of all God’s creations, including the stars. Marcelo, Bruna’s Dad (who went to Heaven last December), loved astronomy. So, this ornament reminds me of him.
Beautiful Moment #4: An Amber Teardrop
Back in June, I wrote a blog entitled, “Forgive and Forget: I’m not so good at that.” A person who I thought loved me hurt me deeply with regards to my childlessness. She wanted to be forgiven, but I just wasn’t sure… To be honest, I’m still struggling with this. As I unwrapped six amber colored teardrop ornaments which she gave me, I faltered. Should I put these on the tree? After a brief moment, I decided that I would place them on the tree and allow them to remind me that I am trying to forgive her and move forward in joy…
Beautiful Moment #5: A Horse
The ornament which displays the image of a black horse caused the biggest smile. Because this ornament reminds me of my amazing hubby. He absolutely loves horses! So, I placed it near the top, taking care to make sure I could easily see it when I sit in my chair each evening.
Beautiful Moment #6: An Angel
One of my favorite ornaments is an angel with wispy wings. She reminds me of my Mamaw, who is an angel in Heaven. She also reminds me of my Grammy, who loves angel figurines.
Beautiful Moment #7: A Reindeer
Bruna thinks deer are absolutely magical. They don’t have deer in Brazil, so she is in awe that they walk through our front yard nightly. So, when I see a deer, I think of my Bruna.
Beautiful Moment #8: The 12 Days of Christmas
I have 12 ornaments which represent The Twelve Days of Christmas. They were too expensive, but my hubby bought them for me because he knew I wanted them. I place them on the tree, as I sing the song to myself. I chuckle because I love this song, but it drives my Mom nuts!
Beautiful Moment #9: Santa
I love Santa. (In fact, I wrote a blog about him & Mrs. Claus last year. You can read it here.) Santa visited my Grammy’s Christmas Party every year. And now, he visits Maddie each year. I think Santa is the best!
Beautiful Moment #10: Pumpkins
Yes, pumpkins! I have two pumpkins displayed on our big tree. Why? Because pumpkins are one of my absolute favorite things in this world. They make me smile, so they go on the tree!
Beautiful Moment #11: The Grove Park Inn
As I’ve shared, we love to buy ornaments when we travel. While visiting the Grove Park Inn to see the gingerbread houses, we saw a beautiful Christmas ball painted with trees in autumn colors. So, we grabbed one and went to pay, not even bothering to look at the price. (My hubby and I never do this. We are quite frugal. But we loved this ornament so much, we forgot to check the cost!) Well… Let’s just say this ornament gets hung very, very carefully because it is the most expensive thing on our tree!
Beautiful Moment #12: A Copper Ball with Golden Swirls
Dane and I lived in an apartment for several years. We thought it was too small for a big tree, so we put up a little Christmas tree instead. My mother-in-law bought us some beautiful copper colored ornaments to decorate it with. I still have a few of them, and they remind me how far we have come on our journey…
Beautiful Moment #13: The Biltmore
I think our Biltmore ornament might just be the very first Christmas ornament we bought while on vacation. Three years after getting married, we visited the Biltmore. Honestly, we consider it our honeymoon because we didn’t take a big vacation right after we got married. Who knew we’d end up living just a couple of hours away…
Beautiful Moment #14: Monticello
Another ornament we bought while traveling, this one shows Monticello surrounded by trees in full fall color. It was so cold when we visited! But since fall is our favorite time of year, we decided to get the fall ornament instead of the winter one.
Beautiful Moment #15: Leopard Print
Dane and I have always loved animal print. You’ll find touches of it throughout our home, including on our Christmas tree. Our style has changed over the years, but leopard print has always been a part of it.
Beautiful Moment #16: Sparkly Brown Glass Bulbs
These ornaments hung on the tree in our décor shop. They remind me that Dane and I are willing to take risks. And even though things don’t always turn out quite like we’d hoped doesn’t mean it’s the end. It simply means we learned, we move forward, we redefine…
Beautiful Moment #17: Pinecones
When Maddie was little, she loved to collect pinecones from the yard. In fact, we had a whole pile of them outside the backdoor! So, on her first Christmas, I gathered some of the pinecones she had collected and placed them on the tree. And I have nestled pinecones into our tree every year since. Special pinecones for our special fur baby…
Beautiful Moment #18: Burnt Orange, Olive Green, & Chocolate Brown Bulbs
The colors of our tree, as someone recently put it, are “different.” Just like our life, our Christmas tree colors are non-traditional. But my hubby and I adore fall colors, acorns, and pumpkins. So, we decided to use our favorite things to decorate our Christmas tree! Like our life, it is unique to us.
Our Perfect Tree
After spending three hours meticulously placing each ornament in the perfect spot, sitting & standing & looking at the tree from various angles, perfecting the topper, and choosing just the right skirt, our tree was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Well, maybe not quite perfect…
Until all the lights went out.
No, I’m not kidding. I had literally just finished decorating and was stepping back to admire my work when the tree went dark. Despite checking the plug, the cord, reading through the trouble shooting manual, and buying a “tree light fixer” gadget, the tree is still dark. We just can’t seem to figure out how to make the lights shine…
Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. I didn’t yell. I just shook my head and thought, “Don’t ever say anything is perfect.”
And then, I thought what a beautiful lesson our tree is teaching…
The Beautifully, Imperfectly Perfect…
Finding the ornaments which represent the beautiful moments from our life is a bit more difficult on an unlit tree. They don’t shine and sparkle as much as they would if the twinkle lights were glowing. But they are still there, and they are still beautiful.
Often when we realize that our life will be childless, we feel like the lights have gone out. In this darkness, things can seem quite bleak. It is harder to see the beautiful because details don’t sparkle and shine without the lights.
But the beautiful moments are still there. We just have to look a little harder to find them.
Smile through the dark. Your light will shine again…
But if we try, we discover the beautiful moments, the bright sides to our childless life. And slowly, the light begins to shine again as we find our hope and our joy.
My hubby and I will figure out a way to get our tree to shine again. It might not be until next Christmas, but we are committed to making it happen.
Look for those beautiful moments and smile, fabulous one, feeling the peace they bring. You’ll figure out a way to make the light shine again. Until then, don’t let the dark steal your hope.
Like our tree, your life might be “different.” But different is often the most beautiful of all!
If anything I wrote resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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The “Childless Holidays: Finding & Spreading Hope” Series will round-up on Wed, 19 Dec.
Featured Photo: Created by Brandi Lytle using Canva.com