This is my “baby’s first Christmas” ornament. We all got one (I have 3 other siblings) from the year we were born.
However like most things that trend in decades or traditions that folks hold-on to, I was absent for so many of them as a child. I was born in Africa and although we came state side right before I turned 3 … I’m still very anchored to my beginning. My memories have faded but I do remember the smell of the rain season and the feeling of our concrete floors on my bare feet.
So the story about this ornament? Isn’t really that special. I love babies. LOVE babies, always have; and now my daughter LOVES babies. She thinks this ornament is hers no matter that she can read 1983 on it and understands that it was mine when I was a little girl. (Bought for me state side, by the way … Nigeria didn’t really have a Hallmark store in 1983).
This has always been my favorite ornament because it was one of the things my mom kept from my baby days (literally, the woman did not keep things) and because being the youngest of four kids there wasn’t much that was “mine”.
And then I started having romantic notions about this ornament when my oldest brother came home after meeting a girl and exclaimed to the entire family that “He met the girl he was going to marry” which he did and it turns out they both had the same baby book. At 13 I then wanted to be able to tell a story like that some day. (I’m getting cheesier by the minute, I know. But it’s true!)
I wanted fate to step in and match me with a guy who had something exactly the same as me. Forget that my mom didn’t keep things or that being born in Africa meant I’d have to meet someone who either traveled a lot, was also born in Africa or had a crazy story … so I just always thought it would be this ornament. Or be able to tell the story of how he went home one day and exclaimed “he knew!”
So when I married Aaron – who is 3 years older (no chance of having the same ornament) and never went home to exclaim his proclamation of love for me (he didn’t live at home and I never really heard of his conversations with his parents while we were dating) a little part of me cried over this ornament.
Instead he’s logical, measured, passionate. He’s committed and when he knew, he knew. Not a moment before – and never wavering since.
I think about this every time we hang the ornaments while my daughter tries to convince us that this ornament is really hers, I get protective of something that has sentimental value over real value and tell her to back off. This is my ornament. It’s my reminder that I made a mark when I entered this world. It’s my reminder that being different is exactly who I am, who we are.
And in a way it’s the very story I always wanted to tell … except instead of the details overlapping our details intertwine.