This single picture telegraphs the difference between my mother and my mother-in-law.
On the left hangs what Glenna Lea sewed for her youngest daughter 60-plus years ago. Done sewing, she hand scribbled my name across the green top.
To the right is Beverly’s creation for her oldest son. His name lies at a sweet angle, stitched among 100+ sequins atop white felt.
DH and I, for years, have quibbled about who has the better holiday stocking. In the fun spirit of the season, I ask for your vote.
Consider these up-close images of the top of each stocking:
And the bottom:
On my stocking, I adore the bell dangles plus there’s a little “M” on the child’s Christmas box. Melanie or Mother?
On DH’s stocking, fancy gold thread edges his entire piece. His mother’s secret way of reiterating her first born’s special place in her heart?
My eyes stumble across a third big difference:
The seams radiate the personalities of these two women, offering perfect metaphor.
On the left, my mother’s independent spirit marries a lifestyle-driven need for efficiency. Four children and a disabled husband will dictate such a choice.
To the right, DH’s mother reveals a preference for tradition merged with propriety. A lawyer’s wife, she birthed three boys, daughtered four parents.
Two women, seven children offer different ways of being in the world.
I chose a third way. My best holiday work involved not homemade stockings — yikes! - but rather cookies, cards, and clever gifting. Only one of those do I still practice, and only rarely.
But something changed in me this year. Dare I blame, or credit, the times?
These stockings now serve as Totems, no more need for heated discussion. Each reflects the woman who made them, not the names they bear. Names are only a sorting device.
My mother fire-breathed I‑am-my-own-person-thank-you-very-much.
My mother-in-law committed to I‑must-do-what-a-woman-must-do.
Both echoing change and doing good in their own ways, leaving powerful offerings in their wake.
Never would diversity have been my word for these women. But here it is, shining in the Christmas stockings they made so many years ago.
Speaking of diversity and change, notice the masked Santa hanging up above, in the top picture — between the stockings?
The art comes from Fred Carter, a Texas-based, nationally-known woodcarver. He designed this cedarwood piece as his special 2020 offering.
FYI: Mr. Carter is 86 years old, proving again you’re never too old to change, expand, or grow.
(Interested in seeing Mr. Carter’s work? His daughter is my friend; we can connect you!)