Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Joyful Memories

by Leigh

Mrs. Carmichael, 1983

This may look like a sad little bear ornament missing a leg, but it is so much more.  In 1978 I was three years old and went to preschool at The Little Playhouse.  My teacher's name was Mrs. Carmichael I remember her as a very fun, spunky, fashionable and loving lady.  That year she gave a little package at Christmas.  A gift just for me! My mom said my eyes lit up as I unwrapped that little wooden ornament and got to put it on the tree all by myself.  My mom wrote on the back of it "Mrs. Carmichael, 1978".  When my sister  began at The Little Playhouse in 1982, Mrs. Carmichael gave her an ornament also.   And my mom wrote carefully on the back "Mrs. Carmichael, 1982". 

Mrs. Carmichael, 2005

When my son Jack was born in 2002 she began to include an ornament for him as well.  This continued  until her death at on November 15, 2006 at the age of 85.   I was 31 and my sister was 28.  Yet even after her death, the packages still arrived every December.   Her husband (along with the help of their daughters) continued to give us ornaments each and every year.  Mr. Carmichael passed away last year, but I have a feeling that there might still be a package this week from the Carmichael girls (who are each older than my parents).  I have 34 years worth of ornaments that they have given to me and my family. Each one with their name and date on the back.  

Mrs. Carmichael, 1986

I wonder if Mrs. Carmichael had any idea what kind of joy she brought and continues to bring to this now 38 year old who still smiles just as big now as I did in 1978 when I opened my first ornament at the age of three.   Every ornament has a story…..every one a memory….and each one brings a smile to my face as we carefully place it on the tree.  There is no way we could ever forget the Carmichael's and their very special gifts.

Mrs. Carmichael, 1985

Their gifts became a tradition and I continue this tradition by giving my children a new ornament each year and carefully writing their name and the date on the back.  When they are grown and have Christmas trees of their own I will pass their ornaments to them so they can decorate their trees just like my mom did for me and my sister. Tradition is so very important to me. These days it seems so easy to disconnect due to our hectic lives and there seems to be less time to enjoy the simple traditions that were once a vital part of our everyday family life. I am at the age where I still enjoy and look forward to the traditions of my childhood, but I also feel the need to begin traditions with my children.  Simple rituals that are unique and special to our family. Traditions are the glue that bind families together and they bring us so much joy especially during the holiday seasons.  

Share your joys with us this holiday season!  We would love to see your photos in our flickr group, on Instagram and on our Facebook page.


Katie said...

what a wonderful person mrs. carmichael was, and then her family continuing the tradition. they are truly, trull special people.

terriporter said...

Well, first of all, I had a hard time getting past the first line where you said you were three years old in 1978! But I'm so glad I did because this is such a wonderful post! What a special woman Mrs. Carmichael was! To have continued that tradition and then to have passed it on to her family is quite amazing! When my boys were small, I also gave them an ornament every year with their names and dates on them. Each year when we would get them out to put them on the tree, they would remember their own and how old they were when they got them. This past Christmas, I had the somewhat sad duty of boxing each boy's ornaments up for them to display on their own trees. I miss all those ornaments and somehow my tree lacks a little personality now but I am hoping that this tradition will be passed on to their children. Since my grandchildren were born, they have also received their own ornament every year from us. It's a lovely tradition and one I'm glad I started, waaaaay back in 1978 when my first child was born. Thanks for telling this story, Leigh.

Dotti said...

Wonderful! Such a small gesture with such powerful results. I know you treasure these and rightly so. What a special person and now, what a special family. Thanks so much for sharing this. It's a joyful story to remember as I travel through my day.

Cathy H. said...

Lovely story! Mrs. Carmichael and her family were very special people and they created such wonderful memories for you. Way back in 1976 when my first child was born I started the tradition of buying ornaments for them. Later, I began to cross stitch their ornaments each year. I still continue stitching them ornaments and now stitch one for each of my grandsons. This year the ornament is a stocking shape with a train engine stitched on it. I love the tradition, although I wish I wouldn't wait until the last moment to start! That's a tradition I should break!

kelly said...

oh my heart leigh. what a wonderful story to tell your children. what a special tradition. see...this is what i love about christmas. these wonderful memories. thank you so much for the warm fuzzy today. xoxo

susan said...

beautiful story leigh…so beautiful!

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