Christmas is past and now it's time to put the decorations away until next year.
So "Take Christmas boxes out of attic" is on today's to-do list.
That way, little by little for the next week or so, I can methodically put the decorations away in my pockets of free time.
I love to put the ornaments on the tree at the beginning of the season.
That process often brings joyful memories to mind and we tell stories.
The same goes for the process of "un-decorating."
It can also be a process of giving thanks for what is past, what is now, and what is to come.
Each year, we have new decorations to put away. They are made or given as gifts or we purchase them.
(And we usually have some decorations I get rid of, too, because they are broken, or worn, or I don't like them anymore, etc.)
This year, we added some new homemade ornaments to our collection.
My oldest also purchased me a new ornament. You can see it in the photo above.
She visited NYC with her best friend's family over Thanksgiving break, and they went into a shop there, and she spent a big chunk of her spending money on this gift for me.
I was delighted and blessed by the gesture.
She said, "I thought of you when I saw it, and I knew you'd love it."
I do love Nativity scenes.
At this rate, I'll have entire tree's worth in a few years and that's fine by me.
But this one will be special, because I will remember that Norah bought it for and it came in this season of preparing for her to leave for college next year.
It does and will continue to represent the fact that she and I have a growing friendship now, after so many years of homeschooling (and in spite of all the arguing that took place over the years of Latin grammar and other things like that.)
It feels like she was a preschooler learning phonics ten minutes ago.
It feels like she was that preteen arguing with me over those Latin lessons only five minutes ago.
So this ornament comes as a joyful reminder and comfort and will probably continue to come as a joyful reminder and comfort that by God's grace, I have used the time I was given with my daughter at home to the fullest.
I know, I know... my relationship with her isn't ending. It's just changing.
But as I put away the decorations, I recognize that time is precious and limited and perhaps it's so precious because it's so limited.
I am thankful for God's calling to homeschool. That means that we were simply together everyday for years and years and we really know each other.
And as the time continues to go by, that simple fact really comes to mean so much more than ever.