"Don't take the Christmas tree down until I leave." That's what Sarah asked me on Saturday. We were discussing whether or not to do it and to be honest, I have been reluctant. Any other year and that evergreen would have been out of here by Jan. 2nd but this year it feels different. This year I have wanted Christmas to last and last. We have had dear Sarah at home with us since December 10th. It has been such an enjoyable time! No school or work for her so she just completely relaxed. We have shopped together, played together, sewn aprons together, cried together, cooked together, watched movies and TV together. She has been there for four Sundays in a row as I have led the singing in Relief Society. It has been wonderful to look out at the sisters and see my Sarah's face smiling up at me. Last Sunday as we were singing I looked at her and thought, "she won't be there next Sunday".
Why is it that a mother's heart is so sensitive? Instead of shrinking as the chicks leave the nest it grows unbelievably! I have been able to have my older girls around more than most. They will be the first to tell you with disgusted sighs that it is because they are "Old Maids". That statement makes me very sad because I don't happen to think they are, but unmarried or not, they have been with me a long time and I adore them! Sarah has been in and out, here and BYU, here and London & Paris, here and a mission to New York, here and Florence, Rome, & Sienna, home again and then Canada for doctorate studies, but she always comes home. I love her for that! I am glad we have the love in our home that calls them back. I am not ashamed to boast of that a bit either.
So, as I take down our tree today I will be packing away a bit of my heart with Sarah's ornaments. And as she lands in Toronto tonight she can close her eyes and remember the family togetherness, the laughter and fun, and the glow of the tree at home.
If only we could have that Christmas glow in our hearts all year.