Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stocking Day

We have a fairly new tradition on my side of the family called Stocking Day.  The roots of Stocking Day started in the early 80's when my Godmother created handmade stockings for my parents, my sister and me.  They are embroidered with our names and they have ornaments dangling off of them.  Each one represents our personalities and interests.  My mom has carried on the tradition with our husbands and children.  I still remember the day my husband received his.  It was the first time I had ever seen him get choked up about something sentimental.  You see, when you get a stocking, you are part of the family.  You are accepted and loved.

Stocking day was created a few years ago when we started doing a gift exchange rather than buying for every member of our rapidly multiplying family.  It was a night to open stocking gifts, give presents to the kids and enjoy good wine and hors d'ouevres.  While the night has gone from peaceful and civilized to loud and rambunctious, it is always beautiful and heartwarming.

This year, three out of the four boys were sick on the planned night and we had to reschedule.  My nephew was so disappointed that he cried for a half an hour.  I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a tinge of that myself.  When the actual day came, my son woke up and said, "Isn't it Stocking Day?!  Shouldn't we go to Granny's right now?"  Since it was only 6:30 AM and the party started at 5:00 PM, I told him we should probably wait for a bit.  

But when he woke up from his nap, he was coughing and said his ear really hurt.  I called the doctor and they said they could see him in an hour.  This time it was his turn to cry.  "But I really really really want to go to Granny's!  My ear doesn't hurt at all.  I'm not sick at all!  Please don't make me go to the doctor!"  This series of questions and statements continued for 20 minutes (are kids born with a repeat button installed?) as I tried to assure him that we would be able to go to Granny's for Stocking Day as long as he wasn't contagious.  

It turned out that he was just congested (whew!) so we headed South on the highway only to find traffic backed up for miles.  After an hour of weaving around the back roads, we walked into my parent's house.  To say I was flustered was an understatement.  Then, all of a sudden, my mind stopped rushing and time stood still.  I looked, really looked at the scene before me. There was Christmas music, candles lit  everywhere, family laughing and little boys in pajamas.  I felt the love that surrounded me and felt so lucky that tears welled up in my eyes.  As imperfect as we all are, we are crazy about each other.  Our boys cry because these traditions are as important to them as they are to us.  These memories will fill our children's hearts and minds forever, just as they have filled mine. Thank you, God, for the traditions that bless this family.

What unique traditions are in your family?  How do you stop and enjoy the blessings of your family?

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