Ever since losing Olivia I have struggled with what to do about stockings on the mantle. The first Christmas since losing her, it just didn’t feel right to hang a stocking. It wasn’t about her not being a part of our family, but more the constant reminder staring me in the face everyday that she is not here with us. To be honest, after that first year it really never became a thought again. Emma came, then Ava and we went about Christmas and decorating as any family would. Plus, the realistic side of me always nudged its opinion in and its not like there will be presents left them in them. Then, welcome 2022 and a very strong and independent little girl named Emma who through her current religion classes at school has taken a strong stance about Olivia being her older sister and certain part of our family. Decorating this year, we started puling out all of our decorations and we got to the mantle. The girls helped hang the stockings and without missing a beat once all 4 were hung, Emma looks at me and asks where is Olivia’s? Words weren’t flowing from my brain to my mouth. I was stumped for a moment, speechless. As I sat there searching for the right and realistic approach to take with her, I was consumed and all I could answer was, “you are right, Olivia is a part of our family and should have one as well.” Thankful to online ordering and finding the perfect little angel lighting a tree on a stocking…. Order placed. When it arrived, Emma was given honors to rearrange the stockings and make Christmas décor in our home right. I have been grateful for my “realistic” approach to matters in life as it has helped me trenched through some really crappy situations, but I was kindly reminded by a 6 year old, that we don’t always have to take the “realistic” road, or the tough love road. We can allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and complete! The holidays are always a tricky time full of ups and downs for loss families. This is just a gentle reminder to be easy on yourself! Allow your feelings and emotions to be felt, and be selfish in your needs and your grief. Happy holidays to all of our loss families, may you be able to find some comfort and peace this season.