So I took down the stockings and tucked them away. They were a motley crew, anyway. I'm too sentimental to replace old things, so they ranged from an ancient handmade felt one made for me as a child to a store-bought model bought hastily for a new son-in-law.
Now I'm thinking: Good riddance.
I'll dump the candy I had purchased into bowls around the house. I confess I was already pilfering from one bag of dark chocolate.
I'm ready to move onto new traditions and enjoy watching my daughter and her husband start their own.
Less than a year before Lydia's arrival, they bought a home that miraculously is about a 10-minute drive from my own. They are taking to parenthood with love and intelligence, and they are generously including the whole extended family.
Grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles - we all hunger to hold this little one, and we all have been given that chance, over and over.
Years ago, when my daughter was this age, I often took her to my parents' house across town. One day my father held her as she drifted off.
With a look of pure happiness on his face, he noted that there is nothing more relaxing than to hold a sleeping baby.
It was a simple remark. But I didn't know much about babies in those days. I think I was working so hard at caring for my first-born that I was failing to appreciate such moments.
Now I consider his observation a lifetime gift.
When I hold a sleeping Lydia, I stare at her beautiful, peaceful face and feel her warmth. My own body relaxes, and I realize how right he was. If there's deeper contentment, I haven't found it yet.
I am recalling that my parents didn't fill stockings after my brother, sister and I grew up. They moved on, and more importantly, they let us move on.
This is the nature of life. The challenge is to recognize each new phase as it comes and accept it with grace and appreciation.
I am a grandmother now. I trust Lydia will enjoy coming to my house, especially for the bowls of candy.
I bet I'll figure out a way to make her squeal with delight.
Friend is editor and publisher of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-5124 or nan...@dailymail.com.