On Traditions

Foster Parenting

Facebook keeps reminding me of all the exciting (and totally lame) posts from the last 10 years. There is something quite odd about going back in time on a daily basis. Seeing where you were and where you are now. All through the filter of social media.

Two years ago this month I sewed together more stockings than people we had in our home. We were starting our journey in the Foster Care System and I had no idea what life was going to look like, even though we weren’t certified yet. We kept the names off. Because, how exactly are you going to include everyone when you don’t know who everyone is?

That year we said hello and goodbye to two children and ended up with the same four stockings hanging on the mantel when Christmas rolled around again. It was a season of healing and anticipation. A season of processing and ruminating. A season of enjoying so much time with our normal, nuclear, little family of four.

This year, all those stockings I made in anticipation will be full. 

I feel a mix of emotions. This is what we were preparing for. This is what we were waiting so patiently (and not so patiently) for. Yet, those stockings being full in our home this year means that those stockings are empty in two other homes this year. The only word to really describe it would be bittersweet.

Home and Family and Tradition. 

Words that mean more and evoke more emotion during the time period between Thanksgiving and New Years than any other time of the year.

It’s been hard to figure out how to make it feel like Christmas around here. We have our tree up. We play Christmas music. We stocked eggnog in the fridge and overloaded on bottles of wine just in case. UPS drops packages off at our house daily. Mostly with that little black and blue amazon prime tape.

But Christmas just feels weird this year.

After all those years of waiting in anticipation, of knowing just how everywhere our life is,  I have to say that there are some moments I wish those stockings didn’t exist. I wish they had names on them.  I wish that one particular stocking was empty. I’m yearning for another particular one to stay full for next year. Some days I’m not sure just how much more of this my heart can take. Holidays just kinda, sorta suck when you aren’t where you think you should be. Someone referred to this whole process as stretch marks on their heart.

Yes. That.

“I want to go home. I want my mommy daddy”

I know. I know dear little one. And I am so, so, so very sorry.

Please know that we love you so desperately and we are so glad you are here.

We are doing our best to keep up with traditions even if home isn’t home for everyone that lives here. We’ll watch a movie Christmas Eve and open up a present under the tree. We’ll order takeout. We’ll drive around in the snow to look at lights. We will make  gingerbread houses with graham crackers and get sick on candy. We’ll open holiday cards and feel just a touch bad about not sending out our own. Again. We’ll sit around the couch and laugh and cry and fight (let’s be honest) and Facetime with loved ones in other states.

When things start to feel so everywhere all the time, it’s those little things that ground us. It’s the traditions that we come back to year and after year after year.

It’s the damn stockings- however many it may be that year- hung on the mantel waiting to be filled.

Home and Tradition and Family. 

Thank you guys for surrounding our version of family this year. We have been overwhelmed with help and food and kind words of encouragement. Please know that we can’t feasibly do any of this without a community surrounding us. YOU are that community. When you love us, you love the family-less littles that come into our home. It may be insanely hard, but it is totally worth every second. We know that it’s hard for you when you don’t know who is living here or for how long. Please know how hard it is for them to not know that either. How hard it is for our hearts too.

“Will it be easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely.” -unknown

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