The I-Believe-in-You Ornament
I Believe in You
Without knowing how, decorating the tree became a chore done silently and swiftly this year. Dripping glass icicles were placed so they wouldn’t be broken but I didn’t marvel over their delicate artistry. Handmade cookie ornaments made when my oldest two were small got a swift smile but no real lingering. But one red box with a bone latch stopped me in my rush.
With tired hands, I pushed the small carved latch aside and opened the beautifully crafted box. Inside, was a milky glass ball painted with fuchsias and hummingbirds, the hot pinks and lavenders decorating it clashed with the red container and were more reminiscent of spring than of the Christmas season. Yet, this one treasure filled my heart with the smell of freshly cut fir and my eyes with the dazzle of sparkling lights. After placing it on the tree, I slow down and savor the memories brought on by the rest of the ornaments.
Once long ago when both my husband and I were living in Oakland and attending college and my oldest son was a toddler, I found myself one fall semester with 10 papers due in 21 days. I wasn’t too troubled. I began writing them as early as the course load allowed. But by late November, I still had two due in five days and I was drained. Desperate, I went to one teacher and asked if it were possible to put off her paper. I’d never done this before but had seen many other students manage to get extensions and assumed that it would be fairly easy…I was turned down. Crushed and exhausted, I returned to the apartment sure I wouldn’t be able to drag another 20 pages from my brain over the weekend. I struggled for 2 more days barely eeking out drivel enough for 1 paper.
Then the landlord called and asked if we could please put down rugs because our little guy’s pounding down wooden floors was disturbing the upstairs neighbor. I collapsed in tears. I was a bad mother, a bad neighbor, a failure of a student. And, how could we afford rugs? My husband tried to comfort me then, abandoning his own studies, gathered my son and left me alone for some much needed quiet. The silence did help but I hadn’t gotten too much farther scribbling down ideas on yellow legal pads when my guys returned 4 hours later. Trotting across the floor on chubby legs to the bed (we couldn’t afford a computer) where I sat surrounded by piles of papers and books, my son handed me the box–the red box with the white bone latch. “For you, wuv you,” he said, sure he could make me smile. I opened it and slid the fragile, delicate globe into my hands. Looking up across the curls of my chubby little guy to the face of my husband I saw rather than heard the words, “I love you. You can do this. I believe in you.”
The rest of the weekend found the first paper revised and the second done (not in plenty of time. I finished typing it five minutes after class started) but in enough time.
This year I’m going to put the red box on top so when I open the decorations, I find it first to remind me to slow down, to remember that I am loved and my life is full of joy and blessings.
The gift of We-Believe-in-You is one of the best I’ve ever received.