Traditions (Rox Delaney)

This has been the month when traditions seem to really begin to settle in.  For some, Halloween kicks off the season that quickly slides into Thanksgiving, and then rushes off to into Christmas and end of the year celebrations.  Is it any wonder we find ourselves exhausted?

My memories of some things reach back to when I was three years old.  (Funny how I can't remember what happened two days ago!)  It's been almost six decades since I was that age, so I've seen traditions shift and change, many times.  I expect to continue to watch them for a few more years.

My earlier blog post this month was about Thanksgivings (and Christmases) when I was a child and visiting my great-aunts' homes for the holidays.  Those traditions lasted through my high school years, although we did move closer and didn't have to drive what I'd thought as a child was hours and hours.  But as the elders of the family began to pass away, and those my age began to grow into adults, new traditions were made.  I married, and my husband's family attended Thanksgiving at his aunt and uncle's house.  Each year we went there, along with my parents, who had been invited, since I was their only child.  I still missed my cousins, but I was a grown-up and fell into those grown-up ways, taking my own prepared dishes to share with husband's family.

Trouble brewed in the family, and we stopped going to his aunt and uncle's, and we no longer spent the holidays with his family.  My mother brought the turkey to our house in the big electric roaster, and I fixed the rest of Thanksgiving dinner.  By that time we had three small daughters, so the table was full.  Even after my dad's death, we continued with this "new" tradition.

Along came a divorce, meaning more major changes. My mother still fixed the turkey, but holiday meals were with my grown and nearly grown children and often included their friends, female and male.  Add one granddaughter to the mix, and the family grew.  Add two more, and two husbands, and we expanded even larger.  I started making the main dishes, and daughters filled in with others.  My mother has been gone for a couple of Thanksgivings, and we've again shifted traditions to suit our growing family.  There's now me, four daughters, two sons-in-law, one SO/fiance, five grandkids and one step-granddaughter.  Sometimes we get together for our dinner late on Thanksgiving evening.  Some years we've enjoyed our dinner on Saturday.  This year we happened to do it on Thanksgiving afternoon.  What a novel idea!  And this year, one son-in-law offered to fry a turkey.  It was so good, I think I'll pass the turkey job to him from now on! 

The one thing I learned along the way, and I'm sure others here have to, was to not make my daughters feel they must spend their holidays with me.  We always manage to find a time when we can all be together, even if one or two can only make late dessert.  Our guessing game of where and when we'll have dinner has actually become a new tradition!  And I'm sure there'll be more. 

Blessings to everyone during this holiday season, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!


Reese Mobley said...

This marked our second Thanksgiving without my dad. This year my oldest went skiing in New Mexico and my daughter couldn't make it back from Florida so it was different for me. We still had a great time but the house felt a little empty to me.

Rox Delaney said...

Last year we had our Thanksgiving on Saturday. Even my youngest spent Thursday with her best friend. She felt bad about leaving me alone on Thanksgiving, but as I told her, it's only a date on the calendar.

I know that when all your family is together, you make it special.

Holidays really are dates on a calendar. Time spent with family is special, no matter when.

Joan Vincent said...

It is amazing to what lengths some will go to preserve traditions. This may be foremost to me at the moment because of what I'm writing for the Dec blog. Holidays can be great times to gather but I can recall some really great times created by spur of the moment get togethers.

Rox Delaney said...

Very true, Joan. I remember the youngest of the older cousins often fighting at holiday meals. She was mad because they didn't spend the day with her family, and he was mad because she had to bring it up in front of his family and spoil it for everyone. I was too young to know what was going on at the time, but I came to understand later and swore I would never put anyone through that. Why spoil it for everyone?

Those cousins (cousins from the same tree but different branch, who married each other) are still married. :)

Nina Sipes said...

My family doesn't do holidays. Whenever someone comes for a visit, we do special and give gifts then. So, you could say we moved the holidays to suit ourselves. One thing we noticed is that holidays make expectations that cannot be filled. This way we have no preconceived expectations so we cannot fail. Then, of course, the family I married into celebrate Christmas in house with whomever is here. Other's gifts are mailed. We phone in the present opening.