The trouble with traditions is they change. Who knew? People grow. Families change. What once seemed like it would always be that way, isn't. One time. And then it isn't the next time. And then, you know. It's never going to be the same again.
The thing about a Christmas wedding? Those little changes come in big waves all through advent. And a mother knows it's all going to be very different, very soon. I've grown quite fond of stockings hung at the top of the stairs. The nine of them fill the space just perfectly and when I see them, I see a physical reminder of how abundantly blessed we are. Every time a baby was born, we added another stocking, with no small amount of glee. When Michael proposed to Kristin, I got her a stocking. I guess I just figured we were still adding to the family. I didn't consider logistics.
Logistics. How will this work, going forward? This December 6th tradition of stockings? Not so well. People won't be here on December 6th. One or more will be away at school, in the thick of exams, for the next forever many years. Too, they will move out altogether, with spouses and jobs and the impossibility to just be here in the morning on December 6th. Perhaps they will have their own children for whom to fill stockings.
The best traditions, it seems, must be open to change. And so, without further pondering on this particular reality this year, I hang the stockings–all nine together–one last time. I take a good picture (or at least I try). And I leave for you a memory of when we were still adding, whereupon me-at-40 and me-at-33 remind me-today of what it's all about.