Henry made this ornament the Christmas that he was 10 years old. Or maybe he was 11?
I remember all of us sitting at our dining room table making cookies and ornaments, and a huge mess. He had that green glitterglue tube clutched in his hand, and he was so focused on trying to make the words on his ornaments look good.
And as you can see, they really, really do. He did a wonderful job.
Someday, what’s left of Henry’s glitter and glue will all be worn off of this cheap, eggshell-thin glass ball that I picked up at the dollar store one December afternoon so that my children could make their own Christmas ornaments that night after dinner. Or the glass ball itself will eventually crack and crumble from me turning it and touching it again and again.
But for at least one more holiday, this one, I can look at the name “Henry” scrawled in those shiny, happy letters, and I will hold real, physical proof in my hands that there really was once a little boy who loved Christmas like crazy, and whom I loved like crazy.
He really existed. He was my little boy. I dreamed of him before I knew who he would be, I grew him in my belly, I named him after my father, grandfather and great grandfather, and I mothered him as fiercely as I knew how until he drew his last breath. But now, only two years since, very little of his 18 Christmases remains behind.
But I have this ornament that he made. And I’d give anything to celebrate just one more Christmas with him.