Florence, a Ghost of my Christmas Past

We’re spending the holidays with my best friend this year, so not much entertaining will occur at our house. It felt weird to not decorate, but with a whole lot happening at work , I wasn’t up to full on Christmas decor. So we picked up a small Christmas tree from the grocery store, and added a small string of battery operated LED lights. There’s a little Christmas spirit. Simple, colorful, neat, right?

2013 Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

2013 Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Earlier in the week, I purchased several sets of vintage German and Polish Christmas ornaments on eBay to augment the ones I inherited from my parents. One set was scheduled for delivery today, and these would get scattered around other parts of the house in keeping with the simple and neat decorating theme. The colors were a good match for the hot pink, gold, silver and blue that came from my mother’s 1960’s Christmas decor. The image on eBay just showed a general overview of the lot, not a whole lot of detail, and since I paid next to nothing for them, the individual ornaments weren’t of great consequence.

vintage glass ornaments

Small lot of German and Polish vintage Christmas ornaments

The parcel arrived early in the day, and I began unwrapping the lovingly packaged ornaments. As you can see from the above photo, you really only get a general impression of the ornaments, not a lot of detail. So I was completely unprepared when I removed the tissue paper surrounding the first ornament – it was a simple metallic red orb, nothing spectacular. You can see it on the far right side of the eBay picture. What was it that took that humble little red orb from commonplace, to staggering? It was the neatly embossed, silvery white glitter writing on the ornament that stole my breath away — it was my mother’s name – Florence.

The Flo Ornament

The Flo Ornament

What you many not know is Christmas is a bittersweet time for me, I sometimes struggle to find the joy and wonder the season is supposed to bring. I lost both my parents early in life, and the memories of Christmas with them are the best, but also the hardest for me to remember. No matter how old I am, I still feel this lack of them, and it is especially true during the Christmas season. This little ornament was the equivalent of a big emotional walloping upside my head today, and I’m not too proud to admit that I shed a good deal of tears as I held it in my hand. I was speechless for several minutes as I tried to understand what the universe — or rather, what my mother — 20 + years gone from this earth, was trying to say to me.

So this is it: She answered a long standing prayer today, by sending me a sign – literally a sign, she’s still watching over me. I take it as her kick in the pants that I should remember her, and her love for this most happy of holidays. I’m reminded to celebrate the reason for the season, and the coming together with the ones you love.

I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

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