This will forever be known to me as 'the Christmas where Ann Catherine really started asking about Melissa.'
Not that she hadn't asked about her before. But this year, Christmas triggered it.
There are so many remembrances of Melissa this time of year. Her stocking on the mantle. The angel at the top of both of our Christmas trees.
It's been an extraordinary three weeks as I have tried my best to answer Ann Catherine's questions.
It all began the weekend of Thanksgiving when we decorated the house for Christmas. The girls love being part of that. First we put up their tree in the kitchen.
It has ornaments that either they have made (to quote my mother, the ones "you wouldn't take a million dollars for") or have been given to them by others.
I love how the ornaments all start low. Once the girls finish, Chris and I always "spread them out."
From there, "the stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."
"...with hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there!"
Next, we put up the "big" tree. Ornaments that hold the sweetest memories...
...hung by the tiniest of hands.
And as always, Chris held Ann Catherine as she put the angel at the top of the tree. My favorite part.
Everything on this tree represents a beautiful memory - memories that span from when Chris was a little boy to our children now. Ornaments given before Chris and I were married and ornaments made by these beautiful little people who we created.
And the angel at the top of the tree represents the most amazing memory of all - Melissa.
I'm sure that's a huge part of why Ann Catherine was full of questions this Christmas. So am I sometimes.
But I thank God for the memories that make it a little easier.