Every year, I buy a few ornaments at after Christmas sales. You know, after Christmas, but before the tree actually comes down. That way, I can pack them away with the rest, and then I have something new (but relatively inexpensive) to look forward to when I open up my Christmas decor the following year. What's fun is that those ornaments can be a real surprise.
This last year was no different. I bought a few things, packed them away, and when I opened them, I was delighted at last year's choices. Last year was a very sweet year for me. There a bit of a back story, however, so bear with me.
I was divorced when I was 24 years old, in 1985. I had two small daughters, ages 5 & 7. I tried dating a little bit, but I was apparently not ready for a real relationship. I decided to put all that away. God had given me my girls and an opportunity. I decided to focus on raising them and building my career. While I did that, I gained weight, lost a good bit of self esteem, and decided that maybe, relationships just weren't for me.
Then, 2 1/2 years ago, I lost a good deal of weight (sometime I'll share that with you - my favorite before and after of all time), and I decided that I would try again. My girls were grown with families of their own. I had a reasonably steady and well-paying job. I owned my own home. Maybe I could find someone. I dated a few men who were themselves not ready. (I'm afraid to say it, but sometimes there's a very good reason why a man in his 40s or 50s is not married - yikes!) Then I met MMM in the spring of 2010. He's something pretty special. Steady, caring, and knows how to have a real relationship. He gets me. With him, I can be my genuine self. We started dating, and last Christmas, had been together nine months.
When I was out post-Christmas shopping, I spotted a pair of ornaments. How remarkable that they had both our names. Both names from the sixties and seventies. No one's giving their kids these names these days. (Isn't that funny? How will Shaquille and Artemis ever buy personalized ornaments when they get together?) But there they were. So I bought them, wrapped them in tissue and put them at the bottom of my ornament box. It was very nearly the last item I brought out when I decorated the tree this year.
When I unwrapped them, I loved them all over again. And then it struck me. What if MMM and I had not lasted until this Christmas? The scenario would have been very different. I would have unwrapped that little parcel, and then just sat and cried. Because I love him so very much, you see.