The paper is yellowed and delicate, the ribbons show years of use, the patterns are etched in my mind from childhood. The snowflakes my mom cut out for my first Christmas are as old as I am. I am turning 32 this month.

For many years, these snowflakes floated over my bed every Christmas season. Even in college when I came home for Christmas break, they would be there in my room waiting for me. My mom made my brother his own set. I remember many nights of falling asleep looking at them above me, their shadows cast by the little tree on my nightstand. Sometimes I would stare at them thinking about how much I never wanted the Christmas season ever to end—a feeling I still have every year. As I got older, I thought about how young my mom was when she cut them out: 26-years-old. Turns out, twenty-six is not that old. It seems an impossible age to a child, and now here I am already six years past my 26th year. I wonder what she was thinking about when she cut out my snowflakes by hand. Her cuts are very detailed, creating a beautiful lace.

Even though I moved out of my parents’ house in 2004, I didn’t feel ready to take my snowflakes with me. They were so tied into my childhood and feeling a part of my mom and dad’s house that I wondered if something would break with sadness in me if I took them. I still had my mom hang them in what used to be our rooms, kind of symbolically, even though she asked me if I wanted them. A couple of years ago I had her start hanging them in her kitchen so I could see them when I came to visit during the season. They felt like a part of me that still belonged there with my parents.

This year I finally felt ready to ask for my snowflakes; in fact, while I was putting up Katie and Eric’s decorations, not having my snowflakes suddenly felt weird. For the first time, I had a strong feeling that my snowflakes belonged here, with me, with all four of us. My snowflakes are part of childhood magic, and my children and I are making that everyday together. I know there is no real going back to my own childhood, no matter how much I sometimes wish to. All of that magic is here and alive in my own house, and I can experience parts of it again by helping my own children to know that happy feeling.

So I hung up my snowflakes above my computer desk in the playroom. They feel right in the playroom. I am more often in the kitchen than anything else, and I wanted them there initially—but, between you and me, I am too short of a person and the ceiling is too high and it seemed like a lot of production to enlist a ladder. In the playroom makes sense, because now my snowflakes are a part of an area where my children and I play.

When Katie was born, I wanted to continue the tradition of snowflakes that my mom started.

Katie’s snowflakes in her Azalea House room…Katie was only a little over a month old in this picture. Now her snowflakes hang above her big girl bed in her room in the house she has lived in for most of her life.

Eric has snowflakes, too. I have been putting his above the changing table, primarily because with age has come the paranoia that one of the tacks might fall down into the night into his crib and that he might try to eat it. When he gets a little older, I will hang them above his bed, too.

I love being under my own snowflakes again, and I enjoy them with a happy nostalgia. This is their first year away from the two homes of my childhood, but it is right that they are here with us.