Reflections…it can mean many things. But these last several weeks have been some hard weeks for myself and my family. It has given me many opportunities for reflection; from a birth that makes me a great, great Auntie, all the way to the other end of the spectrum, to a split in a family. It has really made me reflect on my life in general and how I live it. We can’t always have that straight path we may have hoped our life would be. In my case, it has always been ups and downs, around mountains, sometimes plowing through the mountains, but it has never been straight for too long. When I think on it, nobody’s life is. In fact, I purchased a ring several years ago that sums up my view of my life. Those ups and downs always remind me I may hit the valleys, but that life comes back up. So why do we think it should be straighter or easier, and why do we get upset when it isn’t?
The thing is, I have come to know, that how I live each day matters to my tomorrows. I have family. I want to spend time with my family. It is a gift I want to enjoy whenever possible. Some of my family is gone on to be with Jesus. But I still have family here. I don’t want to accommodate schedules, I want to have the family gatherings BE the schedule; that we make it a priority to be together at some point close to the holiday. Why? We may not have a tomorrow. I was at my American Sign Language Class in Seattle in July of 1992 when I got a call to come home because my mom had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. There was no tomorrow with her. I have seen this happen over and over, and I don’t want that to be the case in my life. I want my family to know that I have put priority on our relationships, so that, I put aside my schedule to make Thanksgiving or Christmas, or any other holiday, something special for our family to celebrate together. I also want them to know that they are loved. When I was growing up, we spent many of the holidays with family and extended family. But now, everyone gets busy, so it doesn’t happen as much anymore. Pretty soon, we end up saying to ourselves, “Gosh! I wish I would have spent more time with so-and-so before they died. There are so many things I wanted to know and ask about.” Just the other day, I shared something with my youngest son and he said , “I never knew that about you before Mom.” I want to answer those questions, share about my life and my parents, so that they too, can makes some lasting memories and leave a legacy for themselves and those they have and will come to love. In our household, we often shared our lives with foreign exchange students, or with widows that didn’t have family to spend holidays with. That was just a part of who we were.
So, do you feel your traditions are rather silly these days? Don’t. They are the things that your kids and family will remember. Someday, they may be doing the same things that they thought were silly before, and now, are something special. We have a toast of sparkling cider at each Thanksgiving and Christmas so kids and all can toast. We have special dishes and goodies that are part of our heritage that we make every year. Great way to bring in the story element by sharing why these goodies are a part of our day.
Don’t play the busy card. Slow down enough to make it happen with your family and extended families. Make those special dinner dishes, even though it may take extra time. I remember one Thanksgiving that my boys were upset because I didn’t make one of the dishes I usually make for that day’s dinner. So I now know! That is something they enjoy and feel needs to be a part of it. So, I make it each year. Another memory is to bake cookies or goodies together for Christmas and chat about traditions as you do. It’s a great time of bonding. If your children are older or you can’t get together, share making cookies together when another relative to share stories. It’s just fun to do! Long distance? Skype them and toast together or share your family table scape with each other. It can change the day!
Here’s a fun activity for you and your family: Make sure everyone has a cell phone or camera this holiday that they can use. It could be disposable cameras also. Ask them to use that cell phone camera or another camera to take pictures of what means the most to them. Put the pictures together in an album and share with the family. You might be surprised at what they take pictures of! Then, you also have record of a wonderful time spent together! What is one of your holiday traditions in your family? Please share in the comments.
Here is my wish for you…I lift my best glass of sparkling cider to a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and your families! *Clink* and *Snap*!
Walking the journey with you,