WHY HOLIDAY TRADITION IS IMPORTANT TO ME + A NON PINTEREST WORTHY TREE
Our thanksgiving plans just came to a halt. Like bam. Our daughter said she didn't feel good earlier but I passed it off as tired. We had a crazy four days with her California cousins and she was spent. And just as I was about to start packing the family to leave tomorrow, she said she was going to be sick. Voila, throw up she did and she's currently lying next to me while I monitor her for more sickness. Just in the nick of time.
Unbelievable. Welcome to parenting. It's like booking that trip to Napa with your husband and you've been so excited to go and drink the wine from the beautiful vineyards and eat all the brie available and just days before, you find out you're pregnant. It's just life. It happens. And maybe that's a bad example and maybe you don't want to be comparing the stomach bug to napa, but for all intensive purposes, I'm bummed. Wish my daughter wasn't sick right now. Wish we were all healthy like yesterday and tomorrow we'd be heading out on a road trip to Georgia to see my in-laws. And also I'm missing my possible day alone in the Atlanta Ikea, but nope. Well, Shit.
This is a season. This time in our lives is just a season. And it's hard. But contrary to our popular belief we will want to remember these days because although they are incredibly hard and incredibly inconvenient, we will be reflecting one day and be laughing about that time we had Chinese takeout for Thanksgiving because we were all too sick to leave the house. Maybe. (Let's pray she wakes up perfectly healthy!)
I remember dressing up for church Christmas Eve and I distinctly remember my mother wearing a sequin jacket one year. And she’s a die hard Catholic. Sequins. Yep. My mother almost became a nun before she met my Dad and thank God she didn’t. But that almost nun wore sequins to church that year and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Church on Christmas eve followed by dinner at Grandma and Grandpa’s was tradition. Every year, same tradition. The Christmas songs sung in church I remember by heart, the friends faces and their siblings are imprinted in my mind, the drive home to our house to pick up the food and then piling back into the car and heading to Newport Beach, I can still smell mom’s cooking. The car was stuffed with presents that were in a black garbage bag. Grandpa and Grandma answered the door with hugs and smiles stretching from here to eternity. Cousins everywhere running around, music playing, the smell of sweet rolls in the kitchen….I remember it all perfectly, in detail. It was the greatest memories of my life. (insert heavy tears)
Why am I crying? As I type this down memories are flooding my mind and tears are making me snotty. A flash back of my cousin Robbie comes to mind where he was singing and dancing to jingle bell rock while my Dad strummed an old guitar. And Grandpa would hand out silver dollar coins to us for “performing”. I still have the silver dollar coins hidden in my closet here in Tennessee.
Tradition is strong in my life. Strong. I’m built from the ground up because of family tradition and family values, mostly beginning and ending with love from the support of an amazing family God gave me. I never take that for granted. Never. Especially now that I have a family of my own. Tradition is everything.
The holidays give me all the feels and if I could throw a party a day during the month I would, but with work commitments and holiday parties in town, the shopping, the wrapping, I just want to focus on tradition and creating memories. Because, it's Christmas and I barely have time to wash my hair.
My Christmas tree decorating is tradition. It’s not a pinterest worthy tree full of perfect gold bulbs….it contains the ornaments of my life. And every time I want it to be this perfect tree you’d see in Rockefeller center I realize what makes my tree "pinterest worthy" is the very thing that makes me happy. The ornaments I’ve had throughout my life and the decorating is my happy. It's what we did as kids, as teenagers, and now as adults with my babies hanging the ornaments themselves. It's tradition. Some are falling apart, some are perfect, but seeing some, like one my sister gave me the first year my husband and I were married, it’s got a picture of us and we look so innocent and young. And rested! It’s unbelievable to see how far we’ve come when I see present day, our babies pulling these ornaments off the tree.
Tradition and family go hand in hand and it creates memories and a tie to each other that no bond can break. These traditions whatever they may be for me or for you, they are the seasons of your life and nobody can take that away from you. Even after people pass on.
My grandparents are gone. They have been for some time. My cousin Robbie died many years ago too. But our memories of Christmas eve are clear as day. They are embedded in our hearts and forever remembered.
And traditions change. People move away. Case in point, me. This Christmas we will be home as a family of 6. No cousins, no grandparents, just us. And that’s perfectly fine. Life is busy and it’s too much to make the trip to California this Christmas, so we are staying put. We are celebrating together as a family, in our beautiful home of Tennessee. And every tradition I’ve learned will be carried over and lived out right here. So it lives on. And on. So your kids understand that one day it might be them, in their home with their families and creating memories through tradition will have them beaming from ear to ear and so will their children. This is my hope. This is my greatest hope. And in the grand scheme of things, if someone gets sick and the plans are halted, the holiday isn't. Make those memories, eat the Chinese, snap the photographs, put up the tree. These are the seasons of your life, live them intently.