Today has been a tough day with some sad news, so I find myself in front of the Christmas tree at 2am grateful for the happy glow unable to sleep, and glad to relax in the familiar glow of warm white American Christmas lights that Stephanie shipped me from America last week.
There is something beautifully nostalgic and comforting about their tone and the way they shift just a bit every time i move my head – I can see them at my parent’s house as my dad wraps them around the tree, at our house in NC with Madeline staring at them with her barely 1 month old eyes in fascination, at them on our first tree in Kenya bridging an ocean as we put up our tree.
Belle called it our “memory tree” a couple years ago. As we pulled out Santa mugs and she made homemade hot chocolate a couple weeks ago as we put on each ornament, I smiled that the girls knew the stories as well as I did.
So, welcome to our Christmas tree, and a smattering of its memories that span almost half a century:
When we left Birmingham for Kenya, I gave away 30 or 40 of the ornaments from our tree to friends and mentors, to carry the tradition of the memory tree over to them – to know a piece of our hearts was with them as well. I love that our tree is full and that every single ornament has a story attached – that it is a living history of our family added to every year. As people have posted photos of their trees this year, I peer at the ornaments – wondering at their stories, and wonder at the moments that make up our lives –
Arianna is a pediatrician and David is a photographer and executive director of Friends of Kijabe. We moved to Kijabe, Kenya in September 2014 with our girls to begin the next step of our great Adventure. . .