My Memory Tree

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My Christmas tree is fake, but its love is tried and true. It’s more of a memory tree than a traditional Christmas tree.

The ornaments on my tree range from vintage ornaments I grew up putting on my family tree to handmade ornaments made by my children. It’s amazing to know that the angel that tops my tree is the original angel from my parents’ first tree in America. Every year my boys get to pick a new ornament, starting their own collection of memories. 

Being that crazy first-time mom, I remember buying the “Baby’s First Ornament” kit. With my husband shaking his head, we somehow managed to get a decent handprint in the model magic-like clay. (Don’t worry, we put our secondborn through the same torture!).

We love laughing at the preschool-made ornaments, especially those with handprint reindeer and snowmen. The “insert picture here” teddy bears and elves also cause a roar of joy when they come out of the ornament box.

Among all the ornaments, there are other children’s memories….my former students. As a teacher whose birthday happens to fall two days before Christmas, I have gotten my fair share of ornaments. After 20 years of teaching, I still get joy from these ornaments.

This year my six-year-old took charge of the ornaments since he was delighted by the uniqueness of my collection. I have the classic initial, a few handmade candy canes, and other Pinterest-type ornaments.

Then there are the ornaments that are the inside jokes. The teacher struggling to hold a stack of books because my student loved to read, like myself, and this shared love bonded us. There’s the homemade snowball globe, made by a student whose birthday is the day after mine. He loves snow; I hate it. As I gently hang this ornament, a smile comes to my face, and usually, snow is soon to follow. Another favorite is the model viola a student gave me after learning I used to play. A fellow musician, she knew how important music was to me.

While my tree might not be the classiest, trendiest, or most cohesive, it has the most character, history, and love. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Do you have a memory tree?

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Maria is a full-time mom, teacher, wife, daughter, and sister, who feels pulled in too many directions! Her older son Michael took over 24 hours to be born, and at six-months-old was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, shrimp, and wheat…all after exclusively nursing because she was SO SURE that would help him be a healthy kid. Luckily at age 1, he began to outgrow some of his allergies. Fingers crossed the others will soon follow because that plus a husband who doesn’t eat any veggies and Maria always battling her weight makes for three meals to prepare every night. Luckily, Christopher, her younger son, is a cooperative eater! As someone who has always been committed to making positive change, Maria uses her privilege and position as an educator and mom to work toward a most anti-racisit, equitibile, and inclusive world. Recently, Maria has even started getting up at 5am to workout in her basement. (Thank you pandemic living!) She is addicted to reading chicklit on her Kindle app in the dark, most Trader Joe’s products, and watching TikToks.

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