In the past, however, these stockings were imbued with greater meaning.
I purchased a set of three stockings – red, green, purple – eight years ago, back when I still hoped desperately for children. The plan was they would hang from door knobs of the children’s rooms and after baths on Christmas Eve, the little ones would find matching flannel PJs in stuffed in them.
Oh, the darling image of it. Oh, the sadness of it when the children did not arrive.
Cutting a fresh tree. Decorating the house. Baking Christmas cookies. These are among the holiday traditions in which I’ve had to let go of the secret hope that someday I would do them with my children. So much emotional attachment to an idea of what would be and the immense sorrow that followed.
The trick to surviving the sorrow has been learning to accept What Is and learning to stay in the Present Moment; easier said than done, but essential to happiness.
When I am able to accept a moment, event, activity for What It Is instead of What It Is NOT, life goes more smoothly. It is a tight rope walk, a fine line, to keep the brain balanced in the present moment, to not lean too wildly into the past, or arms flailing, lean too wildly into the future. Even now, five years after all the drama of fertility treatments, miscarriage, divorce, I find myself thrown off balance by what could have been, and have to carefully right myself, swaying, until I am upright, and moving forward on that thin, narrow, rope of NOW, knowing that is all I have is this moment.
A Stay-In-The-Moment practice I adore, is to lie on the floor, a pillow under my head, and focus on simply on the tree for what it is – a thing of beauty; no other hope, no other secret wish attached. I pick out my favorite ornaments, one by one, admiring how the glow of the lights enhances the gleam, the twinkle, the sparkle of the glass.