The first time I met her, she was only four months old. The Denver Dumb Friend’s League counselor brought her into the room where I was sitting on the floor waiting. It was time. My loving golden retriever, Bailey, had died from a stroke several months before. There was an emptiness in my family that I was hoping to fill.
The counselor told me the puppy was very shy. She set her down on the floor and I picked up the little shaking dog, holding her closely on my lap. I stroked her soft fur, quietly cooing to her. I set the puppy down, concerned that a shy dog might not adjust well to my yellow lab, Courtney. As my questions were answered, the puppy eased her way back to my side and leaned against me. It was meant to be.
It’s been more than five years since Olive came home. As I cleaned house, prepared food and wrapped presents for our Christmas gathering, Olive followed me around. She looked out the window with my cat, Bubba, waiting for the guests to arrive. As soon as the first car pulled up, she ran upstairs to hide in the bedroom until the last guest left for the evening. Despite all the training, Olive is still painfully shy.
She never needs much; food, a walk and someone to throw her favorite ball. In exchange, Olive brings joy to my home. She is always happy to see me. If I’m sick, she hovers within reach just in case I need a hug. She sleeps at the bottom of my bed, keeping my feet warm. So, today I’m giving Olive her favorite gift, play time with her favorite ball, just the two of us.
Wishing you, your family members and furry friends a Merry Christmas and your favorite gift, whatever that may be!!
I put up the Christmas tree this year. Most years we’ve celebrated Christmas at my sister and niece’s houses, so my ornaments stayed boxed away in the basement. This year, my son and I are hosting festivities. I can’t wait. This afternoon everyone will begin arriving and we’ll spend hours laughing, playing games, eating and opening gifts. I’d forgotten how fun it is to decorate the Christmas tree.
Each ornament tells a story. Baby’s First Christmas: My husband and I didn’t have much money, but we were excited about our new baby. The ornament was from Current. It was inexpensive and unbreakable. It’s now thirty-three years old, just like my incredible son.
Styrofoam Ball: My son laughed when he pulled it out of the box. This was the first ornament he made while in preschool. It’s painted gold and has a pipe cleaner hanger.
Bread Dough and Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments: I remember sitting down at my kitchen table with family and friends and all of our kids, making crafty Christmas decorations. This was after my divorce when finances were still tight. We had a wonderful time. Today some of the ornaments are unrecognizable blobs. They still hang proudly on my tree.
There are ornaments from Yellowstone National Park, Amsterdam and other fantastic places we’ve traveled. The tree is decorated with penguin ornaments, since Travis has always loved penguins. There are police officer ornaments representing my time in law enforcement. The journey of my life over the years is represented by ornaments on my Christmas tree.
Decorating the tree reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much joy is in my life. It will never grace the cover of a magazine or win any prizes, but to me, it is the most beautiful tree in the world.
It’s easier to sing songs when I know all the words. That’s one of the reasons I love Christmas carols. The other reason is because the songs bring such wonderful memories.
- Baking spritz Christmas cookies with my mom and sisters
- A Christmas treasure hunt for my son, Travis, when he was little
- Making Christmas ornaments of dough
- Candy cane reindeer
- White elephant gift exchanges
- Family time together
Here’s one of my favorite Christmas songs performed by an incredible group of artists. Talk about a joyful noise…enjoy!!
We celebrate the gift of Jesus during Christmas along with the love and togetherness of a wild and wonderful family. Laughter until our full bellies hurt and organized fun…what could be more amazing at a time of year when we all stop for a moment to actually listen to each other and to share some time together. I love you all!!
Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and the love of family and friends to keep you throughout the season and beyond!
Tea and candy, anyone? It’s snowing outside and I love sitting down with a warm blanket and having tea along with something sweet.