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PACKING AWAY THE CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

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By Kimara - Posted on 11 December 2007

            Few things in this world can reduce us to a blubbering mass of saline production like packing away clothes our children have outgrown. This is especially true in the first year of our child’s life, when hormones are raging, (I think this statement is true for men as well as women!) and our little urchins outgrow their clothes every few weeks! If you are a parent you’ll remember that first tearful day when you realized you could no longer snap your baby’s 3 month onesie over her diaper. Niagara Falls!!! So, with shaking hands, a heavy heart, and perhaps your first true appreciation of the passage of time, you lovingly laundered the outgrown clothes, packed them in a box, and stored them away for later use. (A little aside here…Is it just me or have other people packed away pristine looking clothes only to open a box a couple of years later and discover the front of all the baby clothes are riddled with stains? Where do they come from? They weren’t there when you packed the clothes away…you surely wouldn’t have kept something THAT disgusting! I’m sure there is a perfectly simple chemical explanation for the resurfacing of stains…perhaps oxidation of the iron in their food or maybe there is a stain fairy that travels the globe leaving splatterings on the clothing of good girls and boys! Anyway, it’s just an enigma that has perplexed me for years and has absolutely nothing to do with the story at hand! Shocker!)

 

            Anyway, over the years we pack many things away. Not only clothes but toys and books, and eventually, metaphorically speaking, outgrown interests and friends. Although we may have learned to control the weeping, we still lovingly pack away the stuffies and lovies, blankies and dollies, hoping some day our children will appreciate our thoughtfulness and experience a loving reunion with possessions once considered life sustaining! (Point of fact…even if your child isn’t overly enthusiastic about the pinned together scrap of a blankie that he was once joined at the hip with, it will bring back tons of memories for you as you bury your face deep in the folds, hoping some of the “baby smell” remained…aka…soured milk!)

 

            I’ve long ago gotten rid of most of the baby clothes (refer to the resurfacing stain quandary), but every year I experience the same sensation when I unpack our Christmas decorations. It’s with smiles and recollections that I place my children’s homemade ornaments on the tree. I flip through an abundance of photos featuring my children with Santa and mirthful pics of our pajama clad Christmas mornings surrounded by wrapping paper carnage. To this point I am all smiles, BUT when I come to the Christmas stockings a certain melancholy takes hold. I still fill the stockings of our unmarried children, but it is the two stockings that remain empty that bring a tear to my eye. Oh, the perplexities of dichotomous feelings! On one hand I am thrilled two of our children have found wonderful partners and are busy making their own Christmas traditions. On the other hand the empty stockings signify a paradise lost; a stage in our lives never to be revisited, and yes, the inevitable passage of time!

 

            I must admit this moroseness is always short lived. Come on, it’s Christmas time, how glum can I be? I smile when I think of how my daughter made stockings for her and her husband the first Christmas they were married; and has since made stockings for her three children, and her severely exuberant standard Schnauzer! When my youngest son and his new bride were home on a recent visit, she was busily knitting stockings for her and my son’s Christmas mantel. Neither of my children asked for their childhood stocking…as I assumed they would…but then it occurred to me, I hadn’t brought mine from home when I married, and I also made stockings that first Christmas! And so I know all is well and as it should be. I trace their names with my finger tip, take solace because the Christmas stockings were never visited by the stain fairy, and pack them away for next year. There will come a time when five stockings will go unfilled each year, but I will remind myself to count my blessings knowing that the unfilled Christmas stockings aren’t empty at all, but rather filled with memories of Christmases past and the anticipation of Christmases yet to come!  

 

I always send my completed blog to my daughter to read before I post it. She came over tonight and I asked her if she had a chance to read my blog. Rather emotionally, she said with a teasing grin, “Yes! Why’d you send it to me? You’re so mean! You know I’m emotional about this right now!” (She is currently in the throes of a poignant battle…with her youngest child 15 months old, she is biologically being urged to become pregnant again vs. their decision not to have more children.) “Well”, I said, “if it makes you feel any better, it brings a tear to my eye, too!” Truth be told, I’m not trying to make anyone cry…well, maybe a little BUT the message here is that time DOES march on, and we have two choices. We can either embrace the changes and delight in them or wallow in the past. I, for one, choose to embrace the present, smile at fond remembrances, and work towards making today a day worth remembering years from now!               

 


This usually happens especially during special seasons and holidays. - Marla Ahlgrimm