One year for Christmas my mother took me to stay with my Aunt Cecelia and my seven cousins. I don’t know why we weren’t spending Christmas together. She was married to her first husband at the time so maybe he wanted to do something without a child along, some special trip or something. Or perhaps she had to work. As a nurse, she often had to work on holidays and, as a single mother, she especially needed the extra money.
Regardless of the reason, it was the first year I actually had a real Christmas stocking, one of those classic red ones with the big white cuff, with my name on it. And because my aunt had a classic Colonial style home, there was a fireplace in the living room.
It was not, however, the first stocking. Although my mother had never gotten me a typical stocking, she used her own creativity to provide and, as a result, the stocking my aunt had made for me was not nearly as abundant as what my mother used. You see, she would take a pair of my tights, probably the older ones that were about to be thrown away and could no longer be worn and she would stuff both legs with things. Coloring books, Pick-Up Sticks, Jacks, an orange, plastic jewelry, a small stuffed animal, dolls, crayons, markers, colored pencils, a roll of paper, small notebooks, hair things, a pair of mittens, a headband, nail polish, "perfume," and whatever else she could fit insight my tights. Think about how much can be shoved into even a child’s pair of tights.
A lot more than fits into the usual stockings, that’s for sure. As I said, I was spoiled by my working single mother.