Holiday Traditions. We Are Family!

With Easter coming up in the near future, I can’t help but reflect on the traditions that we, as a family, have established.  We are totally lacking in holiday experience due to the unusual circumstances surrounding our background.  So… we have created our own madcap idea of traditions.  I am part of a huge family.  Once we left the quagmire of the past and stepped into the future, it took a few years of doing before we came up with what we call our new tradition. 

We have two holidays that all family members are expected to attend.  We put the nix on Christmas because with the influx of new marriages and the coming together of step children, multiple step parents, and custody agreements it was literally impossible to bring everyone together. 

Easter is one of those special holidays for our family.  I have been told that it is completely non-traditional and once I was told it bordered on sac religious.  I don’t really know about the religious part for our family is spiritual without any specific ties to any religious organizations.  We believe that God should be worshiped in a way reflects your personal beliefs if you believe in God at all.  To us Easter is about Easter eggs and the family coming together for a rocking good time.  It is always held at my son’s house on the Saturday before Easter and he always makes ham.  My oldest grandson, Kyle, goes down the night before and he and Uncle Nate stuff the Easter eggs with all kinds of surprises.  They really get creative with their egg stuffing; some wonderful and some not so wonderful.  The kids love it!  We have a wonderful ham dinner and laugh at the all the kids running around looking for eggs.  Money is counted, candy squirrelled away for another day, and the less the wonderful surprises are put in the garbage.  The kids all chatter on about past Easters and how Uncle Nate did this to the eggs and Uncle Nate did that to the eggs.  Each tells their story with bright shiny eyes and you can see the delight as they share in something so much bigger than themselves.  I do believe they are more delighted with the ‘unbelievable’ put in the eggs then they are with the ‘goods’.  Nate doesn’t have any children of his own and so all his nephews and nieces have come to expect the unexpected from their uncle.  He never disappoints them; I suppose that is why they all love Uncle Nate.

Thanksgiving is far more traditional.  We have done it all so often that it is almost pointless to ask Jon, my son-in-law, what we should bring.  I know that I am bringing two pies, Sweet Potato Casserole and homemade rolls.  Jon roasts one turkey and deep fries the other.   In addition to supplying one of the turkeys, Sarah and Jay bring Green Bean Casserole, an apple pie, and the potatoes, sour cream and the garlic for the mashed potatoes.  Nate and Aimee bring appetizers, Broccoli Casserole, and Salad.  Meghan sets the most beautiful table with Jon’s grandmother’s china.  We have a good time and by most folks standards, a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving.

No one misses Easter or Thanksgiving.  No one!  We don’t care if your car broke down and you need to call someone for a ride you are still expected to be there.  Last year, Nate and Aimee couldn’t get their car started.  They live in North Carolina and there was no hesitation from the Virginia part of the family to send someone down to get them.  If we hadn’t taken the time to coordinate, we would have all shown up on his door step.  We don’t care if you are the family delinquent, just got out of the hospital, or some other unexpected tragedy has happened.  This is an opportunity for gathering that we all value.  It is sometimes not easily understood by others because they have shared in the holidays for a lifetime.  We are family.

Susan Banner Todd

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