The first Christmas in Ireland, I pulled out our box of decorations, set to decorate the tiny bush-like tree Josh got while out one day. Our quarters were a bit cramped, and we had left our giant fake tree behind, so this little bush of a tree that sat on a side table was perfect. We put our decorations on it, and I noticed something…we were missing an ornament.
Not just any ornament.
We were missing my firstborn’s “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament.
I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I was always pretty good about keeping the Christmas stuff packed away together. Everyone else’s First Christmas ornaments were accounted for. But Collin’s was missing.
I may have hyperventilated a little. His was a porcelain Beatrix Potter, mama bunny and baby bunny in a rocking chair ornament my mother got us, something way more extravagant that I could have afforded as a new mother. It didn’t go on a tree for the first, I don’t know, ten years, as I constantly had toddlers or puppies trying to climb said tree. But I’d get it out, put it out on the mantle, then tuck it back away with the others.
Yet there we were in Ireland, missing it.
Collin didn’t miss it. His sentimental ornament is the Rudolph ornament he made in kindergarten that I’ve glued the eyes back on more than once, and that I treated as carefully as the Beatrix Potter one.
But I missed it. I had hoped it was just elsewhere, in a different box that we missed. We had taken everything we were keeping to Ireland, and got rid of everything else by one way or another. I held out hope that it would magically turn up.
By the next Christmas, I had gone through every box. The ornament was still missing. I accepted that maybe it was gone for good. Every year, I’d get out the ornaments, start decorating the tree, place three “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments on the tree and sigh over the loss of our very first one. This was my sixth year of doing that. The sixth year I reminded myself that it would be okay, the ornament Collin cared about more was still present on the tree.
Then yesterday, the husband and I went out. “Where do you want to go?” he asked.
We were right by the one little posh thrift shop. “Let’s go there.” I said. This thrift shop is a fun little place staffed by lovely ladies, and full of hidden treasures. I found fish bottles like the ones my friend had. I also found little yellow glass bottles to replace the ones I used to have but got broken along the way.
So into the thrift store we go, which is all decked out in “Please buy this Christmas themed stuff” holiday cheer. There are packages of Barbies and snowmen plates and village sets galore. There are colored glass ornaments in their original 1970’s boxes. There’s holiday aprons galore.
And there was a three tiered display of boxed Hallmark ornaments.
I wasn’t going to stop and really look at any of this. Because we have what we need. And yet, I paused at the stack of Hallmark ornaments, and glance at the first bin. and see this.
I may have let out a sound so high-pitched, only dogs could hear it. Or maybe they even couldn’t hear it. But there was gasping, and “OMG!” and “HONEY LOOK! IT’S THE ORNAMENT I LOST!”
“That’s coming home with us, isn’t it?”
“UH YEAH!” I stated. “You’re just lucky I’m not opening crying in the store.”
And then I half-heartedly looked at other stuff in the store because none of it really mattered, I had been given back my lost ornament and they could have charged full price and I’d have slapped all the money on the counter, but to make it all a bit sweeter, it was half off in price. Then I tucked it into my purse, and brought it home, to fill that void I’d been missing for five Christmases.
And now, my tree is once again complete, thanks to my own little Christmas miracle in the form of a half price sale at a thrift shop and the ridiculous odds of finding a 20 year old ornament when you weren’t even looking for it.