The stockings were stuffed. It’s always been one of my favorite challenges of Christmas as a mom – finding fun and useful things to stuff into stockings at Christmas. I had a personalized stocking from my childhood, but I set it aside when I got married. One of my favorite high school teachers gave me and my ex personalized, handmade stockings when we got married. She continued to make them for our daughters. As we started adding family members several years ago, I wanted the guys to feel included. So, two years ago, I had new stockings made for all four of the now-adult “kids.” It was the first year in the new house my ex and I had bought. I didn’t realize he had already left the marriage and was involved with someone else. I enjoyed that first Christmas in the new house with new stockings and a full family.
The next year, the four “kids” and I celebrated in my rental. It was simple but cozy, and we enjoyed the continued tradition of the new stockings.
This year, I prepared the stockings a few days in advance to make sure I had enough for everyone. As usual, I could barely fit all that I had in each stocking. In fact, the candy I bought to split among the four stockings didn’t fit at all. I also used my youngest daughter’s childhood stocking to put in a few items for the first granddaughter we’ll welcome to the family in a couple months. Plus, we had my stocking.
That meant six empty stockings were stacked on my table when I got home and unpacked after our celebration.
So, maybe our stockings aren’t used in quite the same context and places as originally planned, but I was stuffed with joy just like those stockings were stuffed. We are in the process of stuffing ourselves with new memories.
We still have some good older memories, too, but it’s important for us to move on and let God turn ashes into beauty, uproot any bitterness of what is no longer, and encourage hope of what can be.
Each of us gets to choose what we stuff our lives with, how we deal with memories, and how we look toward the future.
It’s not always easy, but I choose hope, joy, peace, and faith. I am thankful for another year of stuffed stockings with my family.