Over the last five years I have transitioned my thinking and began to focus on experiences knowing that both my son and I will be left with the gift of memories. Knowing that memories start to fade with time, I try to preserve our memories by making scrapbooks of our special life moments and blogging about our travels. When we do travel, we often don’t return home with souvenirs. The one exception is Christmas ornaments. I love Old World Glass Christmas ornaments and my Christmas tree is full of a collection that defines our life. The ornaments range from our faith, hobbies, favorite sports teams and past times and of course, our travels. To me, opening up the box of ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree is better than opening up any present on Christmas morning.
I love walking down memory lane remembering my son’s childhood. Every year when I pull out the blue train ornament from the box, I am reminded of the years that he was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. I honestly think that he had a hundred different trains. He literally would spend hours playing at his train table and watching the various Thomas the Tank Engine videos. Trains really dominated his little life back then and I have fond memories of his excited little face when he was able to ride a life size Thomas the Tank Engine. Was that really only twelve years ago? Time goes by so quickly.
Each year that I take out the ornament of Mount Vernon, I am reminded of our first trip that made travel our family hobby. Back then my son was in the third grade and fascinated with the different presidents. At that time, neither one of us knew that our newly discovered enthusiasm while exploring would become a catalyst for countless day trips and vacations in the coming years.
The yellow taxi cab will always remind me of the”$5 dollar cab day” in NYC with two of my best friends, Tracie and Monique. I can still hear us laughing as we went back in forth multiple times from Tracie’s apartment to Soho. Just thinking about the fun that we had that day way back in 1998, still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes.
This year I added two more ornaments to our collection. The first one captures the city of San Francisco, where we spent a few days during our California road trip this past summer. As I placed it on the tree, I was reminded of the bonding time I shared with my son while walking five miles from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge. The time was precious because we were in the fresh air together and I had his full attention since he couldn’t walk and look at his cell phone at the same time.
The second addition was from my visit in May to the Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. The shiny ornament brought me back to opulent home where there were countless shiny objects from gold framed mirrors to pieces of art.
As I hang each memory on a branch, I find myself back in the moment of a beautiful landscape, in awe of iconic monument, cheering on our favorite team or just reveling in in the joy that comes with sharing times with loved ones.