Monday, December 10, 2012

Shatter Proof


I have been divorced for ten years.  It has been one entire decade since I walked away from an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.  And yet, as my current husband recently pulled down the Rubbermaid storage boxes from their garage shelves, many of the holiday decorations contained within are still those purchased while in that first marriage.   I unpacked snowman decorations that had been given as gifts by my former spouse, and opened a container that held the blue and silver glass bulbs that we hung on our Christmas tree.

I can’t precisely tell you why I never replaced them.  I suppose I just considered these decorations as mere objects, and never really thought of them as symbols of a failed relationship.  Did looking at a snowman candle holder from Kohl’s bring tears to my eyes as I painfully recalled the night my former husband attempted to choke me?  No, it did not; I just thought it looked appropriately festive sitting on the fireplace mantle.  Replacing the decorations and the ornaments would be expensive, and I deemed this act unnecessary.
 
This year, however, a different feeling generated in me when I looked at those blue and silver bulbs.  I simply could not bear to hang them upon my tree for one more Christmas. I wasn’t disturbed by memories; I didn’t regret my divorce.  I simply did not wish to hang those ornaments up one more year as I had grown tired of them.  Beyond that, I now have a toddler who has the natural curiosity of a kitten, getting into things she doesn’t belong in. I could imagine her pawing and batting at them with her hands like the furry, little paws of the cats of my childhood, breaking bulbs and making my mom furious every single holiday season. 

Those silver and blue bulbs of a marriage past were as fragile as our relationship – easily broken.  I did not want my daughter to injure herself on the sharp, fragmented bits of glass in the same manner I had been emotionally injured when my reality was shattered through the revelation of my spouse’s unceasing dishonesty.  I thought then of the false mystique of splintered glass along the edges of roadways.  When those bits of broken glass are illuminated by a vehicle’s headlights, they sparkle and shine like diamonds and gold.  It’s all an illusion, though, just as my happy, blissful marriage was. 

For the safety of my children, who might naively be fascinated with the shine of those silver, fragile bulbs, I could not in good conscience place them upon the bows of the already erect tree.  The lights had been strung, and my daughter awed at the sight.  However, we would not finish decorating the tree that night.  I took that plastic container full of easily broken ornaments and put it back out in the garage, stashed away behind other storage containers and a large cooler. 
The very next evening I went to the store and bought new ornaments – shatter proof ornaments.  On the most basic level, these ornaments are a wise decision of a protective mother who rightly predicted that her daughter would knock ornaments off the tree.  When my daughter did this, though, after all the new bulbs hung beautifully from the limbs of the pine, the bulb remained unbroken.  It held together, just as I know and believe that this family will hold together through all difficult times.  This marriage – this beautiful, blessed family – is shatter-proof too.
                     ---------------------
I hooked up with the wonderful writers over at Yeah Write.  Once again, I am telling you the posts on the challenge grid are well worth reading.  Happy Holidays!
 
 

27 comments:

  1. Wow. I love the powerful part about not wanting the shattered glad to hurt your daughter like your ex did you. Sad, but poignant. And yes your family will be shatterproof I believe it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is awesome, Angela. I love the way you used the ornaments to represent both marriages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Good luck on the Yeah Write grid!

      Delete
  3. My hubby and I were married 10 years before we had kids. As soon as we did, the ornaments started piling in -- every year, our kids get to pick a special ornament and, now that they're in school, they are bringing hand-made ornaments home, too. Long ago we replaced the glass balls with an amazing variety of completely random ornaments -- there's no theme to our tree, unless you count family as the theme.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the idea of your ornaments as a metaphor for your marriages. I am so glad for you that you now have something beautiful, strong and unbreakable.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's a great way to compare your former marriage to your new life. And I love the way that you've decided your life and your daughter's are deserving of a fresh new start. ;) Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fantastic metaphor, Angela. What a wonderful way to look forward too, as a strong shatter-proof family.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really enjoyed this post. I wonder if a small part of you isn't relieved those ornaments aren't a part of your family Christmas now. It seems like the kind of thing you wouldn't notice bothering you until it wasn't.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congrats on shatterproofing your ornaments. And your kid. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love the whole analogy with ornaments. Great piece!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tradtion and ritual can bring such healing. Lovely post. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats on moving forward in a most unbreakable way!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Everyone deserves unbreakable everythings, and I am glad you got them for your marriage and your ornaments. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's nice to have fresh starts. I'm happy for yours.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love this. I'm so glad you found a happy, safe, loving place in life. You deserve it. Big hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the metaphors strung through this and that like your tree now, your family is shatterproof. How perfect for the holidays and everyday. So happy for you, Angela!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love it when you compare your marriage now to your previous one. It means there are miracles and you are one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sweet post, Angela!! Sweet as in awesome. And awww. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the metaphor in this - heartfelt and not all gimmicky. Great post! And adorable family!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great metaphor. I left all my Christmas ornaments in the attic when I left my abusing husband 2 years ago so all of our ornaments are new. I hadn't really thought about what that meant until I read your story.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the happy ending! And that's such a sweet picture. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Terrific post! Brilliantly written! I pinned you here http://pinterest.com/lnmontessori/mom-lit-the-best-of/ and here http://pinterest.com/lnmontessori/mom-lit-holiday-memories/ And I liked your FB page!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post! I like the idea that you've made positive changes to ensure that your life is shatter-proof. Wonderful metaphor.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very interesting parallels between your marriages and the ornaments. I think you took a great decision in storing them. Best wishes for the New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This piece is in my top ten mom lit of 2012, and I used your Pinterest pin image in the post, let me know if that's not OK!
    http://www.lifehappensthenwrite.com/2013/01/best-mom-lit-of-2012.html

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm here from LHTW - What a beautiful post - I love the imagery of the shatterproof ornaments representing your family.

    ReplyDelete