…and a favorite pair of slippers.

In a few hours 2013 will be a memory. We tend to mark years by our memories—the year Gramma died, the year we got married, the years our children were born. One or two significant memories can mark a year and determine whether it was a good or bad one.

In my recent memory, 2009 stands out as a disappointing year. We suffered several significant losses that year—a job, a church relationship. It’s one of those years I’d just as soon forget, yet even in the losses there are important lessons and memories to hold on to.

I’m somewhat ambivalent about 2013.

This Christmas will stand out as a most unexpected and happy memory. We had anticipated a quiet Christmas with just the two of us, until two days before Christmas. Two nieces changed plans and a plane ticket at the last minute and traveled from Michigan and Virginia to spend a few days in Florida.  The last-minute flurry of meal preparation, buying (small) gifts for four- and six-year-old boys brought on a level of excitement and anticipation we’d not experienced since our own children were small. Surprises make for great memories.

I will also remember 2013 for what might have been. In late summer we spent a long weekend on the western slopes of Colorado with some family members. Although my husband complained of pain in his rib cage and suffered from more shortness of breath than usual at the mountain altitudes, he soldiered on, without much sympathy from me. Upon our return and a doctor’s appointment to determine the source of his pain, he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism—a blood clot in the lungs. I will always be thankful that vacation ended with only a trip to the hospital. It could have had a much different outcome. So I’ll remember and be grateful it didn’t.

This year must also mark the passing of a favorite pair of slippers. I’m much less ambivalent about them. My red Dearfoam slippers. With the lining and foam insole worn nearly through to the rubber sole, it’s only a matter of time before my heels go through that layer too.

The slippers were a Christmas gift from my husband at least a decade ago. It’s not that I’m sentimental about them. Slippers are not the most romantic gift. Ever since the children arrived the practical gift has generally won out over the romantic. But, forgive the cliché, they really do fit like a pair of comfortable old shoes—er, slippers.

They are classic red wool; no trendy, over-sized animal-shaped jobs. I wear my slippers, like most of my clothes, long past their expiration date. Classic lasts.

These were the perfect footwear for lingering over my morning coffee. Even better for warming up cold feet after a tromp through the snow. And who’s to say there wasn’t a bit of romance involved in this gift. I’m sure they were a not-so-subtle attempt on my husband’s part to warm my feet before I climb into bed and rub my icebergs next to his warm body.

It’s hard to let go of comfortable because the alternative is new and unknown. None of us knows what 2014 holds for us personally or for our world. But we do know who holds the future.  And in that confidence I can say goodbye to 2013 and my favorite pair of slippers.

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