What This Snowman Means to Me
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite Christmas ornaments. He is a smiling snowman made of plaster that I painted in 1994. The fall of 1994, leading right up to Christmas that year, I was busy painting all kinds of Christmas ornaments. A neighbor had introduced me to the craft, and loving creative things to do, I latched on and applied color to these lifeless, white plaster shapes.
There are a couple of things about that holiday season that are important. It was to be the last Christmas season I would spend living in my parents' home. I had graduated college in December 1993, but when I started to look for my own place in the summer of 1994, my hunt was delayed by some bad news. My recently retired father was diagnosed with lung cancer.
There are moments in life like these that make your path clear. I wasn't about to leave home when my family needed me.
As the fall season saw my father's health decline, I spent countless hours in our family room with him. He would be watching a movie or sporting event, I would be painting my ornaments. We didn't have the kinds of deep conversations you see a dying parent have with a grown child in the movies. We shared lots of little moments.
My father died on January 4, 1995. For a few years, I didn't do anymore ornament painting. Then, as the time passed, I took up the hobby again. It reminded me of the time I spent with Dad. And it allowed me to share something special with the nieces and nephews I had that were just beginning to understand Christmas. I would paint ornaments and ship them to the little guys and gals, starting a collection of hand painted ornaments for them.
It has been a couple years since I've had time to do any more, but seeing those ornaments I painted, with a signature and notation of the year 1994, always make me smile. This smiling snowman was one my Dad and I both really liked. I hope he brightens your holiday too.