Yes. That is a picture of my trash.

It is filled with garbage, discarded food, dust bunnies and debris from sweeping the floor, and even Buddy’s poop, the rescue dog who still struggles with going outside to do his business.

On top of the smelly heap are the remains of broken and beloved Christmas decorations. Casualties of my own carelessness while taking them down from their post on top of my kitchen cabinets, they were some of my favorites – the Grinch, a snowman, a Christmas tree skirt. While they were cute and festive, what made them special was the memory they represented.

These painted wine glasses were created with and by my kids. The glasses embodied all I hold dear — family, togetherness, love and laughter. I want these to be special mementos my children can have years from now to remind them of their happiest Christmas memories.

I grieved when the glasses came crashing down from about 7′ high onto ceramic tile. Seeing them shattered was heart wrenching. As I swept up their remains (which were everywhere!), I reflected on what I’d lost..but more importantly on what I hadn’t.

These glasses were just things. They weren’t the memory itself. While the object is gone, the most valuable meaning is not. The experience of creating these with my children and the beliefs we formed about being together, loving each other, and enjoying one another remain. That matters the most.

If these glasses mattered so much to me, why was I not more careful when taking them down? How often are we careless with each other, unintentionally? Sweeping up broken glass is easy-ish. Putting back together shattered feelings – not so much.

The trash reminded me of two important things:

  • Always take care with those who matter most.
  • While the object may be broken, the experience they represent is not forgotten.

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