Sunday, November 27, 2016
In Fiddler on the Roof they sing of tradition. It's what bind them together, gives them their identity, allows them to feel secure in their place.
We also do the same thing, whether is Monday Family Night, putting up the Christmas tree, back to school shopping, whatever. Tradition anchors us, and also allows us the freedom to explore, knowing that we have a home base to come back to.
I remember the first few years after we got married trying to put our two different Christmas morning traditions together. It was actually kinda hard.
See, William came from a family that got dressed, had a big Christmas breakfast all together, and then waited for Dad to check on whether the big guy had come.
At my home, we weren't allowed up until 6:00 (I never slept Christmas Eve as a child, and that lasted well into my adult years, too) and Christmas was the one morning we were allowed chocolate before breakfast. We could get into our stockings anytime after 6:00, but couldn't touch the rest of the presents. And cinnamon rolls with chocolate chips were breakfast. Yum!
And since there's only one Christmas morning a year, we really needed to find a way to combine them. Like I said, it took a little while, but when we sat down and talked about how the idea was a happy Christmas morning, with parts from both so we could incorporate both of our childhoods, it actually worked out pretty well. Tradition, our own tradition.
Then a few years ago, we added in another tradition. In 2013, Aaron was in the hospital for Thanksgiving, and somehow William wasn't all that interested in doing the big turkey dinner all by himself. He took a poll, and no one else (at home) was real interested in doing it at all. So they decided to do a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. And they loved it.
Now, before anyone goes feeling sorry for this poor neglected family of mine, understand that I had to fight my kids the next year to get my traditional Thanksgiving back. (See, there's that word again: tradition.) We compromised, a lot like we did with Christmas celebrations, and now we do the big meal with china and crystal on Thursday, and on Friday when we're all exhausted from putting up the Christmas decorations, we have our Charlie Brown feast. After only a few years, the tradition has been declared. It is what it is. Although I've been warned that if we ever disappear up to the Big House on Thanksgiving, the turkey dinner is the one going out the window.
But I think the most important part of Thanksgiving is having our family around, our crazy, silly, sometimes cranky and tired family. And while we haven't all been together for Thanksgiving since 2012, we all know where each person is. And everyone knows what to expect, whether they're here or not. The traditions bind us together even when we're far apart.
And I'm grateful, so grateful.
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”