Ever since I got divorced 12 years ago, my holidays have never been quite the same or special. Now that my kids are so much older, it is even more of a struggle to get excited about a holiday. Every other one is not spent with them, and the ones that are spent with them are usually only for the day of the Holiday and that is it. For a momma who is use to tradition, that is a hard pill to swallow.
This Christmas I have really struggled with getting in the groove. I had ordered Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift to help me navigate through the Advent season and find some meaning. It has really helped at times and at other times, my depression gets the best of me and I find myself honorary guest at a huge Pity Party. Yesterday, I finally decided to stop being such a baby and get into the spirit. I found out my kids would be here on Christmas Eve and half of the day on Christmas day and that was enough reason to finally make me want to go get a tree. So my husband and I went out to the woods, found a crazy cedar tree that I deemed perfect, cut it down and brought it back into the house. I proceeded to decorate it with my mom's Shiny Brite ornaments she passed down to me and wore some vintage red and green ragg socks that had belonged to my dad. I made my own evergreen decorations for the doors, like my momma would do and just tried my best to turn my attitude around. My parents always had a real Christmas tree every year for as long as we were still coming home for Christmas. I knew that they would be very disappointed in me for not getting a tree just because I am sad. So, I put my big girl panties on and found a tree.
Today I spent the entire day baking cookies from my mom's recipes. Her Pecan Sandies and her Cheese Wafers. Now, my mom had a real knack for writing out the ingredients in a recipe and nothing else. No directions for mixing, what temp. to preheat oven, how long to bake, etc. I should have paid better attention when I was little, but of course, we never think of those things then. The cheese wafers I was really nervous about. I haven't made them ever, even though every Christmas I look at the "recipe" and say, I can do this. This year, I took the bull by the horns and did it. AND, they turned out wonderful!!!!!! I was so pleased. Now, I ended up making `11 dozen cookies and I am fully aware that 3 of my sons will be here late Christmas Eve night until mid day on Christmas day at which time they will leave and go back to their dad's. Why on earth I made 11 dozen cookies for basically Robby and I, I have not a clue other than, it just felt right. Maybe I will be surprised by some amazing guest who has a hankering for Pecan Sandies, Cheese Wafers and Peanut Butter Cookies. We'll see.
While I was baking away, I played Christmas songs like the songs I heard growing up....... Perry Como, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, you know the ones. All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with joy and a sense of Christmas. It all became crystal clear what Christmas was about.
Tradition......the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice: (according to Dictionary.com)
Tradition, something that I think as a daughter/female, is more important to me that it may be to my brothers or other males. I have been stripped of so many of my traditions, it is hard for me to get a hold of any holidays anymore. But yet, they are what helps me plant my feet firmly in any Holiday. They are what let's me know what is expected of me. When I don't have traditions to follow, I am lost. But today, I took those traditions of my Christmases way past, and found a way to work them into my life. I felt a sense of calm and peace while baking my momma's recipes and listening to classic Christmas songs on a turntable that belonged to my daddy. I pray my momma saw me today, trying to carry on her traditions in my very un-traditional household the best way that I could. I pray that she saw the happiness it was bringing to me to use her rolling pin, her pastry brush, wear her apron, read her recipes and follow somewhat, in her footsteps. I hope my daddy found happiness in me using his old turntable, playing old records and smiling all the while. I just know that it is what made my day for me and really put me and kept me in the spirit of Christmas. Whether anyone else will notice or appreciate the traditions I carried on today, they made me happy. I don't have any daughters and really doubt that any of this will pass down to my sons. Perhaps someday there will be significant others in their lives and maybe they will care what I tried to do for my kids as far as traditions and some will be passed down. Making new traditions with your family is very important and so is carrying on a few from your past. I myself, am so thankful for them because they are the only thing that have managed to pull me up out of my funk this Holiday. They aren't the same as my momma and dad being here, but at least I can feel them in Spirit and that is all I have left.
I wish for all of you, a Christmas filled with old traditions and the beginnings of your own new traditions. NEVER underestimate the impact these traditions have on your family and loved ones. There will come a day when that is all they have left and they will want those traditions more than you know.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!!