The stockings were hung…
No mantle in this house. Sometimes you just have to improvise.
Last June, when Dmitri received orders to finish flight training in Mississippi, neither of us knew what to expect. Having spent the previous year in an off-base Florida apartment, the thought of living in a community composed entirely of military personnel seemed downright weird to me, and I was certain that we’d have very little in common with our neighbors.Whatever, I remember thinking. At least it’s temporary. We won’t be here for long; we probably shouldn’t even unpack everything.
When we arrived, however, I was surprised to see how much effort families put into caring for these interim houses. There were flower beds and vegetable gardens; swing sets and lawn furniture. And while several members of our community would be here for more than a year, we soon discovered that most of them were just like us– flight students with spouses and small children, just beginning their lives together. But instead of stubbornly refusing to settle in– even temporarily– as we were, they were rooting down and creating homes.
Now, months later, we are more familiar with the almost constant influx of new neighbors (and the equally consistent outflow of old ones). And while it still seems strange (and a little sad) to watch the tin stars, bird houses, and little red wagons that once decorated the yards surrounding ours just disappear overnight, we also understand how truly amazing it is that the families in our community work so hard to ensure that life here, though full of uncertainty, feels stable, safe, and normal.
And that’s the kind of life I want for my family, too.
So this year, we’re starting small. We don’t have an inflatable Santa or fleet of light-up reindeer in our yard, and I’m pretty sure we weren’t even in the running for “Best Decorations.”
But we have a tree. And a wreath. And three little stockings, hung from our wall propeller.
Feels like home to me.