Today, I am grateful for all the turtle and penguin ornaments covering our tree. Some of them existed before our babies ever did, some have been given to us since Hudson died and since we got pregnant with Jackson, and some I bought impulsively because it is hard for me to pass by a turtle or penguin anything without being at least a little bit tempted to buy it.
As we finally put up the tree tonight (after a week of wrangling with strands of lights that kept shorting out on us), I hung two ornaments that I purchased in the two years after my mother died. I volunteered at Duke Hospice during that time, and each year, they sold a memorial ornament every year as a fundraiser. As I hung them tonight, I thought about how those should have been the only memorial ornaments I ever had to hang, if I had to hang any at all.
But here I have a tree full of turtle ornaments, photo ornaments of Hudson, and a letter “H,” all to memorialize our child who should have been here helping us decorate the tree tonight.
And then alongside these are all the penguin ornaments, the ones that honor our child who is with us still, our child who has brought joy back into our lives and given us hope again.
I cried half the time we were hanging the ornaments, but I am grateful for yet another symbolic way that my children can be together, another way that Hudson can remain part of our family and our traditions. It is not what is should be, but I have to be grateful for what it is.