One of the sweetest gifts that I was given this Christmas was a series of DVDs from our past. In June of 2005, our family moved from the south to the northeast. In doing so, we left a lot of good friends, a great homeschooling community, a thriving church, and a fantastic dance studio, complete with a loving Artistic Director and the best dance buddies for our girls. It was at this studio that the girls danced in several great productions, including 2 Nutcrackers and a Wizard of Oz production.
Over the years, as the kids have grown up, the DVDs that we had of those performances got scratched and became unable to be viewed. The last time we tried to watch one of them and couldn’t due to the scratches, I fought back tears. It is hard to lose those visual memories of the smallness of their faces, the innocence of their movement, and the delight of their performances.
Unbenounced to me, at that very moment, my elder son began a journey of trying to secure copies of these performances. That was in June. Over the next several months, he maintained a conversation with the Artistic Director from the south to see where the progress was of locating the performance copies, transferring them from VHS to DVD, and then getting them mailed. On December 23rd, with glee in his eyes, he received the secret package.
And then, on December 25th, as if it was just any other package, my son handed me the wrapped box. As the story of his pursuit of this gift unfolded, I was immersed in the unbelievable thoughtfulness of my son. It wasn’t as if every other gift that my sweet kids had given me didn’t require thought – of course they all did – but this one tapped into my deep emotions regarding the passage of time. It was as if I was that much more able to let go, knowing that I had this visual of their childhood captured.
This was the last Christmas that we will all spend together as things are. As I mentioned, my eldest is on her journey to college. She has this year to complete, a college to commit to and be accepted into, and scholarships to secured, but the process has begun. I know that she’ll most likely be with us next Christmas, but I also know that things will forever be changed. The ache in my heart feels tangible, so real that surely it must be visible to everyone else.
So today, as the kids had a moment of down time and pulled out one of the Christmas gift DVDs, I watched the images of their past selves with their tiny movements, their simple choreography done with great enthusiasm, the innocence in their eyes, and smiled. However, it was a smile intricately wrapped in a myriad of emotions.