If I need a reminder of how fast time passes me by, I just need to hang decorations on the Christmas tree.
I have three "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments. The first is 13 years old. The newest is seven. There will never be another one.
I have hand-made ornaments from pre-school and kindergarten and first grade from as far back as 2001. I will receive no more largely unidentifiable ornaments from my children for as long as I live.
On my tree is the manger ornament purchased in 1955. It is the one my parents hung on their own very first Christmas tree. It joins the manger ornament I purchased for my own first tree in 1985 and the manger ornament I purchased for my "family" first tree in 1996.
Hanging the stocking holders on the mantle, I rearranged photos and cried: my father, my grandmother, Pete's mum. All gone. My older children knew their Gran, but they never met my dad or my grandma, two people who loomed so largely in my early Christmases and my pre-kid life.
How much longer will I have my mom to call and to buy for and to send a card and calendar to? How many more years will I even make a calendar? [Truly, does anyone want to see a calendar of posed teens and young adults? I mean, dressed ones?]
I love Christmas. I always have. It's a time of joy and festivity and worship. And the longer I live, the more it also becomes a time of melancholy and the noting of time marching ever forward, with or without us.