As I walked into the kitchen today, I saw a pearl-like bead on the floor and tried to figure out its source. Lots of things end up on the kitchen floor but we don't see a lot of beads.
The bead brought to mind thoughts of my grandmother and the jewelry she wore. She's been gone for 21 years. Quickly, though, I realized that the actual source of the bead was my two year old niece's necklace. She had visited on Christmas and, at first, was wearing a lovely dress and fun necklace. By the end of the evening, she was in sleepers and her necklace had been broken in a wild flinging incident. I'm not surprised to find a stray bead or two left behind.
When my mind had finished travelling from my grandmother to my niece, I realized that was the first time I had linked those 2 people in any way. There isn't much reason to link them. The age difference would be in triple digits and my niece is from my husband's side of the family. With both of them, though, I have gathered at Christmas. With both of them, I have shared a Christmas dinner and enjoyed the lights from a Christmas tree. Years apart but the tradition goes on.
I find it interesting to reflect upon the people with whom we have shared previous Christmas celebrations. The faces change. Time moves on. We miss people. Some people that we wish had joined our table, never made it there at all. We struggle. Still we gather. New faces, some very small, join us. New boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives and children and in-laws join in. Traditions change. Still, we have Christmas celebrations. I hope we do.
At Christmas dinner, we sit in the light of the Christmas tree, and we smile and eat and talk and poke fun at each other (or maybe that's just us). The turkey is good, the carrots are not, somebody doesn't like cauliflower, the baby's got her head in her food. At least she seems to like it. And so it goes on.
Whatever it is that keeps us coming back together, in ever-changing configurations, I'm glad it happens. I can hold onto the memories of my grandmother and see if I find any more of my niece's beads. It is so special to have shared Christmas dinner with each of them.
Our memories are treasures. And so are our people. I want to hold onto both of them. And I want to hold onto the bead. It seems kind of special now.
I hope that all of you enjoy the traditions that link your life together as you cherish the people who mean so much to you. God bless you all.