On the solstice when my three children were putting the best of the ornaments on a less than full size tree, full size being defined as big enough to hold an adult lifetime collection of ornaments, Lucia held up a rocking horse and asked if she could have one.
No! No you can't have one of my rocking horses! I need those! They're mine (yelped a very panicked Smog)! All mine! I've been collecting them since your father gave me my first right before we got married.
I didn't feel the least bit bad about this until later.
Why does she want the rocking horse. She wants the rocking horse because she's been putting rocking horses on trees since she was old enough to put anything on trees and since the rocking horses (at least most of them) are relatively light and unbreakable and also very special, those would have been the first she would have been permitted to touch, those and the wooden sleds which were collected alongside the horses.
Later I was thinking about childhood ornaments and how much they mattered to me, how much it mattered that my children grew up with them as well and I realized I created a situation where at least one of my children was grown and gone with a very strong attachment to something I wasn't quite ready to give up. She will have children soon. But I still have Christmas. But she has her own tree. She should not be punished for not having reproduced. That's sexist as hell. She is grown. What will the loss of one horse hurt? Which horse will you part with? Does it matter. Oh, yes, it matters a great deal.
I will give her the first horse and put it in her stocking and every year I will give her another until there are no more.
In truth I will do this until Christmas is no longer mine and then I will either hand over the rest or give the other half to her sister unless her sister decides she'd rather have the sleds or her brother suddenly has an opinion.
I'm not sure it matters. The part that matters is that I gave it up and I gave up the cornerstone. I've never really felt my mortality like this before. It wasn't something I expect. The children have always had their own ornaments they're welcome to take when the time comes (she hasn't touched those) but I never thought they'd come for mine (I never thought they wouldn't either, I just wasn't thinking at all).
My mortality is a deep blue with crisp white sails and it has a mane and smells faintly of horse.