ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — T he chest was full of ornaments, special ones bought for a little girl named Riley, all of them packed neatly in their original boxes, most of them cataloged in a journal meticulously kept by her mother for her first four Christmases.
“This is a memory book for your Christmas ornaments,” her mother wrote in festive red ink. “I figure by the time you begin asking me questions about your ornaments I will probably have forgotten the answers. So here’s my cheat sheet given to you with all my love. Momma”
Here’s a porcelain rattle with a teddy bear inside from Uncle Robby. Here’s a Precious Moments angel from Grandma. Here are boxes and boxes of ornaments, some for Riley’s first Christmas, for being a sister, for being a daughter, for loving Pooh and Tigger and Simba and Pumbaa and Timon (her favorites, her mother says in the journal), for the puppy she wanted to love if Momma had let her have one.
From what can be gleaned from the journal, Riley is 26 now.