Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can’t even describe, aren’t even aware of. ~Ellen Goodman
Memory has carved her signature upon my soul. I remember the warmth of love radiating from smiling faces, laughter tickling the walls of the house, and foods of childhood comforting the voids within us.
This time of year is steeped rich in tradition, making it bittersweet for many. Our traditions have evolved through the years. I prefer not to say they’ve died because they still exist but not in the context of the past. People die, move, estrange themselves…still, time moves on and love builds bridges. While I long for gatherings of the past, I am encouraged to birth new moments of deep connections.
As I plan menus, choose gifts, bake desserts, and write lists, memories sweep in and out. At first, I felt a shadow upon me knowing I can’t recreate the past. Now, I realize my preparations are merely the setting for future memories. More important than cherished memories are enjoying the moments as they are happening and I hope to make that my focus.
While DirtMan and I are now empty nesters, we find distance to be an issue. Neither our adult children nor our widowed mothers are in close proximity. We find ourselves traveling often to visit, and welcome their presence into our home. We treasure these moments as they slip away all too quickly.
When it comes to family gathering, I no longer look at it as entertaining the masses but loving the individuals. And I so look forward to doing that.
This year we get our children for Thanksgiving, and we’re on our own for Christmas. Youngest and his longtime girlfriend will arrive tomorrow. Oldest and my mother arrive a few days later. I anticipate their arrivals like a giddy child on Christmas Eve. I plan to savor the moments as I do the flavor of my food.
It is time to focus on what is, not what isn’t. I wish each of you memorable moments of love, good food and drink, and infinite joy. May your tummy and heart be filled to capacity. May you have enough. Remember always, you are enough just as you are.
Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world. ~Susan Lieberman