Wǔ jiǎo xīng

“Mom, we should get a tree topper for our Christmas tree.”

Girl from the East and I were in the car, on our way to Target for household items.

Rather than fire off all the reasons why we didn’t need one, I considered that we actually might need a new tree topper. The old Father Christmas model with the burned-out candle light and yellowed fur trim was purchased when Girl from the West was a baby, when her father and I were newlyweds, trying to assemble a set of decorations and decide on a theme. We never did. (He wanted a monochromatic, modern tree. I wanted traditional pieces.)

Each year, without thought or question, we mounted old Father Christmas on the tree, making passing jokes that he had  a stick up his butt. Aside from a few Baby’s First Christmas ornaments from the early 1990s, everything on our tree reflected my new life with my second husband. Everything but the worn-out, stick-up-the-butt Santa. Yep, it was time to get a new tree topper.

Inside Target, Girl from the East and I made a beeline for the holiday decoration department. Thankfully there were a number of toppers available. I let her choose. She grabbed a box containing a sparkly red five point star — or a wǔ jiǎo xīng as we like to call it around here. It seemed kind of big and unwieldy. We bought it anyway.

At home, we unwrapped the star and placed it atop the tree. You know what? I love it. I love that my five-year-old came up with the idea and made the selection. It’s not something I would have picked. This is a wonderful thing. She is her own person. She is leaving her mark all around our house and in our hearts in so many ways. This is the upside, the amazing benefit of having children.

Children open your eyes and your heart to endless possibilities.

This one, she said.

The amazing topper and transformation

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