Tradition was instilled in my family from my earliest memories
And, although the traditions are in my heart throughout the year, they are "visible" during Christmas. Perhaps, this is one reason I love Christmas so much.
My great grandmother, Granny, was famous for cooking. Her pecan pies were amazing! This year at our family Christmas Eve gathering, as I walked into the kitchen, I saw a beautiful pecan cake. It was from the recipe Granny shared with us years ago...this year it was made by my Mom. And at the sight of that cake, we all began to talk about Granny...her funnies, her talents, her gifts...and now those stories are being shared with her adult great-great grandchildren. (And they giggled...)
My Grandma and Grandpa were always the hosts for Christmas day, as long as their health permitted. The minute your crossed through the front door, the sage from the dressing would hit the pit of your stomach...and you couldn't wait for a taste. And we loved seeing the decorations Grandma brought out every year. She had a lawyers library case that housed them all. They were on display, and we would sit and look through that glass for hours. My favorite? A very, very, very old Rudolph.
This year, the first thing I saw when I walked into Mom's house was one of Grandma's Santa & reindeer...and the memories flooded. And, so we sat and told the kids about Grandma's collections. (And yes, on some, they giggled, we did, too...)
And now, my Mom and Dad (Nanny & Papaw) are the Christmas (always on Eve) hosts for all of us.
And now there are quite a few of us...
And in my childhood, after the presents and incredible meal - we all played football in the backyard for hours. This year, the kids played memory making Wii - Dance - memories built. And Nanny's encouragement and giggles just made it all the more special.
Nanny surprised all the kids and grandkids with a book of memories - photos and stories of early generations, and current generations. The kids couldn't put it down - they asked questions, they wanted to know more about the faces, in some cases they were seeing for the first time. And, yes, tradition was revealed and strengthened once again.
And tradition on John's side of the family runs just as deep. I love to hear the stories he and Rich share...and this year has been a year of "learning"...
It was our first Christmas without our precious Mummy (John's mother).
And yes, we each had our moments of feeling extreme loss...and we told each other. I won't share here, but I will tell you I think she would be proud of each of us. Each of our "moments" painted a beautiful picture of how important she was to all of us, in so many ways. She made it clear to each of us, in both spoken and unspoken words, of what our family roles were to be in the future - and again - I think she would be so proud.
And, yes, Mummy was filled with tradition. As Papa moved into a bright new residence, we began to touch each little thing in their home. John, Rich, Lori and myself were faced with a difficult, yet a beautiful blessing - as we learned, told new stories, heard old stories...I now know what a gift - it was a precious journey.
And so, with each piece John and I requested to share with our family - it had nothing to do with value - it had everything to do with those traditions that surrounded the gifts. Thank you Papa...
And we hope to have many, many years to be able to share and tell the stories to our children and grandchildren.
There are other treasures that we will share in the future, but this year...
We ate our family Christmas dinner on the dining table that Mummy and Papa had hosted many family and holiday dinners. We also at on the beautiful china that was their wedding china. John's prayer recalled those that we missed...
I used the beautiful olive wood artpiece Mummy and Papa had treasured from their trip to the Holy Land as a centerpiece - and I'm happy I did. There was not a more perfect place to feature this spectacular, special gift...
And one of my favorite treasures is her cookie jar...as our first Christmas as Lolli & Pops...it "spoke" of us as grandparents - (and yes, we intend to have it filled each time the grandkids walk in)
It has been very fun to hear John tell the stories about the smaller pieces we made sure to share with all our Christmas guests...
And I took care to display this tiny collection of his memories right at the front door. I know it sounds mushy...but it was an honor to share these treasures and stories. Many times I thought how proud Mummy would be - John telling everyone how each little piece had been special throughout his life.
It was a Christmas filled with tradition, and we are building new traditions!
Sometimes you simply can't know that what may seem like an inconvenient, silly tradition at the time - may become your greatest treasure.
The only thing that could make ours any better, is if we still had "them" here to help to tell the story. I'm so thankful to have a husband who listened...and will tell the story. I'm so proud that Rich & Lori are just as determined to honor tradition (thank you for such a beautiful Christmas dinner & sharing your "gifts").
Thank you Mummy, Granny, Grandpa and all the others before...I listened.