by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Each needle properly in place. All the lights strung and shining. Tinsel showing the reflection of the people standing around the tree. They look at it one last time before they decorate it, bare but beautiful.
Amanda goes to grab her guitar ornament, the acoustic with a guitar wire as its string. She walks around the tree, looking for the perfect spot, as the ornament dangles between her fingers. As she looks, the memories flood her mind. Belting out the chorus to Brown Eyed Girl with her father in the car, her dad showing her how to string her guitar for the first time, her family at her first open mic event at the coffee shop 10 miles down the road. She finds a spot on the right side of the tree, and hangs the ornament from two branches (just for safety).
Dan is digging through the boxes until he can find his favorite ornament. He finally finds the ornament of a cast that was at the bottom of the box. Whenever he sees it, he laughs. He was hospitalized last Christmas with a broken leg, and his family stayed all of Christmas Eve with him. When he woke up there was a present on the table near him. It was the ornament of a cast with a note that said, “We will always be here for you, even when you’re broken.” He hangs it proudly on the front of the tree right in the center.
One by one the memories decorate the tree. Instead of the ornaments weighing the branches down, the connections and bonds that they represent make it look stronger to them. Finally, Mom and Dad grab the angel in the last box. Dad climbs the ladder, as Mom hands the angel to him. As he puts it on top of the tree, a tear falls down his eye. To explain to his kids why their grandfather had passed away a couple of Christmases ago, he told them that he was an angel that would always watch over them. He said that even though he couldn’t be at Christmas anymore, he was there in spirit and that this angel was the way that he could be there with them during Christmas.
When they look at the tree, they don’t see the decorations. They see their hopes and their struggles. They see the connections they have with one another. The tree may change every year, but the memories do not. They look at the tree one last time before they go to bed, full of life and love. This is their family tree.