When it comes to the blogging community, I have come across some great people who I know would be equally great friends were we to have a three-dimensional relationship. Amy from Savage Stories is one of those people. I have been following her beautiful twins Baylee and Brayden forever and I am convinced that we can make life a lot easier for our kids by arranging the marriages of Baylee and TheMonk and Brayden and Swee’Pea.
So, as future family, I was thrilled when Amy sent this post over this week. Please welcome Amy and her family traditions…
Over a year ago (11/7/06 to be exact–I kept the email knowing I would one day get around to it), Matthew asked several bloggers to write about their family traditions. I’ve wanted to do it ever since he asked, but two things kept me from doing it: 1) I wasn’t sure yet what my own family’s traditions would turn out to be, and 2) I was desperately trying to avoid coming to terms with the fact that my childhood traditions would be forever altered as I knew them due to a fall my grandmother took last Thanksgiving.
I was born in a town called Ruston, Louisiana. I lived there until I was in 4th grade, when we moved about 4.5 hours south. Until I was out of my parents’ house, I returned there for every Easter, summer break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Even up until the point that I had my kids, I returned every Christmas. Santa always brought our presents to Grandma’s, and my cousins, sisters, and I would swear every Christmas morning that we had heard Santa’s sleigh bells come during the night. Every trip up to Ruston would have us eagerly anticipating the turn onto Grandma’s road, where my sisters and I would race to shout, “We’re on Grandma’s road!” All the crappy music that my dad forced us to listen to for the whole ride up suddenly faded into the background as we raced to the door and into my grandmother’s waiting arms.
I brought my kids up there for their first Christmas, which turned out to be the last one Grandma was in her own house. The following Thanksgiving, she slipped, broke her hip, and went to rehab, then, eventually, into a nursing home. My kids and I have been up to visit her several times, and each time, she was slowly slipping away. It was a coin toss whether she’d recognize me or not, and she certainly didn’t know my kids. I got home from my latest visit yesterday. She passed away tonight.
When I think of my childhood family traditions, they always revolved around great, big meals with lots and lots of family members. My grandmother always made her cornbread dressing and pecan pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cousins always delighted in each other’s company.
As my sisters and I have forged our own families and traditions, I see where the basic elements of our childhood come into play: food and large gatherings. I’ve taken over Easter, my mom does patriotic holidays, and one of my two sisters does Christmas Eve at her house. Christmas morning (for the three we’ve had so far with kids) is just the small families, each at their own house. Thanksgiving is the only time of year that my husband’s family gets together each year, so we do that day with his family. But when I get home, my mother has always left me some cornbread dressing and pecan pie in my fridge.
As my children grow, I want them to know the love for their grandparents that I had for mine. And I want them to have memories of loud, loving get-togethers centered around the wonderful meals of my childhood. So far, I think we’re doing pretty well.