Monday, December 24, 2012

The ties that bind

Traditions- those that we realize we have, and those that we aren't even aware of: they are so very important to families. They are the very things that we remember from our childhoods.  The things that add specialness to an occasion. The things that we look forward to year after year.

Growing up, there were very very few traditions in my family. I was practically giddy with glee with anticipation the first holiday season married with my husband. Ever a completely hopeless (unrealistic) romantic, I was sure that his family played the annual game of touch football on Thanksgiving and sang Christmas carols with someone playing the piano at Christmas.

That isn't quite what happened. Instead, there was the annual bickering that got more and more complicated and , frankly, soul-sucking.

The only "traditions" that could be found were nothing like my imagination, and nothing like what I wanted for my family. Even Mr. Grinch learned that the traditions that mean something weren't found under the tree. Yet, it seems like that is all too often the greed and materialism is the only reason for the season.

Dreams of family traditions faded away under the stress of making everyone happy and keeping the sanity.
Added to that, any little traditions we had tried to grow in our own little new family often felt silly and forced, especially when our children were tiny. No child really cares about those types of things. 

Making family traditions takes work. Just like any other good habit, the fruit isn't seen for many years, and sometimes it just seems like a waste of time. The easiest thing is to quit.

I wish that we had fought to make and keep the kinds of traditions that were meaningful and special. Legacy that could be looked back on with fond memories that were so special they want to keep them for their own families. I don't remember a single present that I ever opened in my childhood, but I do remember some of the things that made the holdiays special.

For my own children, I hope that they are able to push past the hard work of creating their own traditions. I also hope that they include me.