Happy Mother's Day, and Merry Christmasby Bob Thurston
Mother's Day is a good day to talk about Christmas stockings.
My favorite Christmas memory is of waking before dawn with my brother and sisters and plundering our stockings, knowing they held enough treasure to tide us over until breaking light made it safe to nag our parents out of bed to open presents. We rummaged through a king's ransom of knick-knacks and candy that stretched the red, green and white yarn of the stocking to its limit: distorting our knitted names at the top, distending Santa's angora-bearded face at the shin, and bulging the crossed candy canes at the arch.
Only now do I marvel at how it all got in. As a kid, I just dug and delighted, giggled and sighed, pulling out an astonishing assortment of the wondrous, the silly, the sentimental and the practical: candies and tree ornaments; puzzle books and playing cards; Matchbox cars and Army men; jacks and Slinkys; toiletries and school supplies; and a plump Florida orange nestled in the toe.
When we became parents, we learned the how-to. The orange is your anchor, and a magazine or a thin pack of notebook paper, tucked in around the calf, props the stocking open – the better for fitting in the bigger things. When those are all in place, you drop in the doohickeys and the thingamabobs.
Mom's other secret is Dickens: keep the Christmas spirit all year long. Bargain bins, clearance shelves, impulse items at check-out – stocking stuffer nirvana.
Through the years, those stockings have been stuffed and emptied, torn and mended, time after time.
They captivate our children and make children out of us.
And even after we've dug down to that orange in the toe, they overflow with a mother's love.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.