I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions lately. It’s that time of year when tradition is in full force—Thanksgiving through the New Year. I realized that in my husband’s family once something is done two years in a row, it becomes set in tradition. As such, we now host Thanksgiving dinner and have a small get-together with friends at our house on New Year’s Eve. It’s tradition.
Leading up to Christmas, we go to the Mayor’s Christmas Parade, see the lights on 34th Street with Greg’s parents and his niece and nephew. I would say that it’s tradition that we see It’s a Wonderful Life but this hasn’t happened each year because sometimes we don’t feel the need for a good cry. I also would say that each year I make latkes for Hanukkah but this isn’t always the case. But still, we have our traditions. On Christmas Eve, we go to Greg’s parents’ house for their annual Christmas Eve party. On Christmas day, we go to his grandmother’s house—she’s about to be 101 next month—and she’s been hosting Christmas day for decades. On New Year’s Day, we go to Annapolis, to Greg’s uncle’s house. All of this is the tradition and I’ve come to love it all.
Then, there is a measly little day in the midst of it all, when I want to be introspective. That day is December 28th—the anniversary of my mother’s death (she died 14 years ago). No matter how old I become, I still want my mommy and on that day, it’s not that I remember her more or honor her more than normal. I just want to make sure to take the day into account, even if I don’t say a word about it to anyone else. The traditions that accompany this time of year, have helped me to separate the holidays from what could always be a terrible time of year for me if I were to let it. It’s only on occasion, now, that I tear up when I hear Christmas music piping in over the sound system at the supermarket. It used to always be the case.
Time is this corkscrew that moves forward and spirals around all at once. New things happen just as the circle of the calendar requires us to remember the past and to either celebrate it or memorialize it. The new things this year: Greg and I got married in October after being together for over a decade (we really rushed into things); my brother and his girlfriend had a baby boy just one week ago. I think about how both of my parents would have loved these two events.
This year’s traditions were the same but different. We were there but I was distracted. My dear cat, Sydney, who I often describe as my soul mate (yes, I believe you can have more than one soul mate) had a pretty big health scare. I couldn’t concentrate on all of the fun I was supposed to be having while thinking about her. After a couple of trips to the vet, lots of medication, and constant supervision, she seems to be doing well. I may not have been fully engaged in the activities on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, but after all of this, I would say I’m about ready to see It’s a Wonderful Life right about now.