Monday, December 12, 2011

More Than Figurines

One of my favorite family traditions growing up was helping my grandmother set up the nativity scene. I loved it. I thought it was absolutely beautiful. I remember that baby Jesus was almost never in his manger--we were always sneaking him away to play with him. Grandma was always after us to get baby Jesus back where he belonged in his manger, and we were always going behind her back to take him out. It was a tireless struggle between us, but it was almost part of the tradition.

I loved that nativity set. LOVED. It.

As I grew older and moved away from home, I found myself looking for a nativity scene like the one my grandmother had. She must have gotten it a long time ago, because I never found one like it. And every other set I found just didn't feel very special. They were all so....mass-produced and impersonal. Grandma's was special. They were more than just some store-bought figurines that depicted the meaning of and reason for Christmas--they represented family and traditions and they had history.

Well, in 2006 my grandma was diagnosed with Cancer. It didn't look good and she wasn't going to last very long. A lot of "who gets what" talk was going around, and I hated that. I didn't want to think about her dying. We were very close to my mother's parents and losing her would feel like losing a Mother. Which is pretty much the case, I guess. So I really felt like it was pretty disrespectful to start claiming china and jewelry.

She passed away August of '07. I was devastated.

Since my sister and brother and I were closest to her (of all the grandchildren, at least), they let us make requests first. There was a necklace and a ring and a few things from the curio cabinet that my sister wanted. I honestly couldn't tell you want my brother asked for... And I didn't make a request. I made a demand. I told them I wanted nothing but the nativity set. 

"That's it??"

"That's it. It's the only thing I want. I've wanted it for years and I may cry if someone else gets it."

So guess what I got? You betcha--I got that nativity set and I was ecstatic. I was also given some jewelry that my mom couldn't see going to anyone else and I got a china tea cup and saucer, which also had quite a bit of sentimental value. (My grandma used to spend a great deal of time setting up special little tea parties for my sister and I. She always used one of her super nice china tea sets. We LOVED those tea parties.)

But that nativity set. My goodness, I just love it. I love seeing it in my house. I love knowing that my children will grow up with the same nativity set that I did. Hopefully my kids will love it the way I did and then take care of it and pass it on after I'm gone.