Traditions give us solid ground to stand on; a comfort to look forward too. Our lives are ever evolving and these traditions we love take different form. This week’s topic is 5 traditions and I sat down to think about the traditions my family has only to realize we are in one of those evolving stages. I grew up with traditions of Christmas caroling with multiple families, the parents would hold a dinner progressive dinner party around the block and all the kids would be in some ones basement doing who knows what. Traditions spent with cousins on Christmas Eve where the story of Jesus was read among the opening of gifts. All good traditions filled with good memories. However, those traditions no long take place but hold a spot in my heart and set a good precedence for Holiday’s to come.
Two years ago our Holiday’s looked a little different with my Dad being so weak and sick. We passed on our usual big family Thanksgiving and spent the day just the four of us with a meal from honey baked ham. With family living local we always dreamed of a holiday just the four us and God was so good to bless us with it at our final Thanksgiving together. We didn’t know this would be our last Thanksgiving as a family of four, but it was simple and good. Our season was free of holiday obligations and the chaos it brings. We skipped our Christmas Eve with cousins and kept it low-key. Our Christmas was a lazy morning spent in pajamas with a big breakfast. Looking back on it, I believe these days were a gift from God as my Dad’s health quickly deteriorated the days following Christmas.
Last year we entered the holiday season weary from grief. It had been a hard few months and the first round holidays just seem to hang over our heads with their impending doom. Would we be miserable? How bad would the pain be? Would I be angry or sad? Would I have any holiday spirit at all? I honestly don’t remember how I felt. The whole first year is a blur and I don’t remember what my gifts were.
Like all the other hard days, we made through. We were able to enjoy those days and what they brought. We kept our selves just busy enough to not focus on my Dad not being there. Our family shape has changed for various reasons and our Christmas Eve gathering with cousins was small with my Mom being the only “adult” despite the grown kids who now fill the room. The emotions that came with that were weird and I don’t quite know how to describe the feelings. It just was and we just were. We started a new Christmas day tradition in visiting my mom’s family whom we spend thanksgiving with. A welcomed change and safe place to get through this first Christmas. They understood our feelings but didn’t draw attention to grief.
This year, we are all rebuilding our lives in many ways. Cancer and grief were the norm these past few years and this year we’ve been putting the pieces back together. We have some old pieces to the puzzle and some new ones too. Finding new traditions and trying things we’ve always wanted to do during the holidays. We even discussed Thanksgiving at the beach next year in one big house to fit us all.
While my current list of holiday traditions is being revamped as we rebuild, my holidays are filled with love and that’s the best tradition of them all.