Define family with traditions
The year was 1980, Christmas. Although enjoying our life in Germany, we were feeling the effects of the distance from our extended family in the States. While bemoaning the absence of long-standing family traditions, I recognized an opportunity to begin new traditions to establish our own identity. A simple mental adjustment turned the holiday from loss to celebration as well as providing a time to develop new traditions which would define our family of four.
Traditions fade with generations
Traditions have come and gone with the tides of jobs, education, marriages, births, and deaths. I enjoyed reminiscing with a cousin recently about our childhood Christmas Eves, definitely the highlight of the year for our extended family. That tradition faded as families moved, married, and enlarged, and parents died, eliminating our anchors. Nevertheless, the memory itself stirs excitement.
A new tradition
Mike and I have enjoyed having our children home each year for the Christmas holidays while accepting that the day would come when we would not all be together.
Job commitments and COVID in 2020 demanded that we find fresh ways to celebrate with our children in Chicago. ED ordered a pre-fab gingerbread house for each household with instructions to decorate and then present at an “open house” via Zoom. I admit to apprehension trimming a house with my engineer husband. Luckily, I was hiding away at my nephew’s guest house, so Mike’s visit was more date night than arm-twisting. And our house with the cane, wheelchair, and raised toilet seat was a hit.
I was surprised on Christmas morning to catch Mowgli eating his house. Not eating a piece, rather eating it in whole. Here is the pleasant thing about being the grandma: I thought it funny. And if I had not already had a piece of Danish Kringle, I might have joined him.
Next year, Mowgli. This could become a special tradition.