At our house, we call our Christmas Tree the Souvenir Tree. Every year since my children were born, I have given them an ornament that relates to their life that year. Some are pretty funny and some just make my heart soar. Once they got old enough, they started doing the same for me. Our tradition is to put the person's initial and the year somewhere discreet on the ornament. It adds an element when we remember. And, when I travel, I collect a little something to add to the tree...a small bronze Eiffel Tower, a tiny carved red Danish horse, an itsy wooden Maine lobster boat, and so forth. I also add things I have saved to the tree like a ribbon from my baby shower 24 years ago, a tiny Santa from my son's first stocking, a little bear that was hanging on my daughters hospital bassinet, and the like. Putting up that tree is some experience, I'll tell you. I cherish every ornament and every memory. Last year, when we took the tree down, my daughter, Lani, who is 23 and lives in Washington, DC, packed her ornaments up and took them home for her own Souvenir Tree. I will miss them. But, I still have all the memories of good and happy times that they represent. And, long after I am gone, my daughter and her daughter and her daughter's daughter will gently unwrap the memories the Souvenir Tree holds.
I guess what I am trying to get to is this...many things come and go. Life is always going on--the good and the not so good. At some level though, all of it is precious. I can say with pretty much certainty that, even on the worst day of my life with my loved ones, there will surely come a time in the future when I would give anything for just five minutes back there...on that worst day...with them. Make a space for happiness, and it will find you!