Thanksgiving is just a week away ... and once again our conversations turn to trying to mesh a variety of schedules to create time for the expected family get-togethers. Six different jobs ... two different college schedules ... an infant grandson and aging parents and extended family ... all pieces to the giant puzzle we call the holidays.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jonelle's piece on family the other day. It reminded me that when I was homeschooling, and totally immersed in the dailiness of children and laundry and math lessons and handwriting, it was easy to believe that it would always be that way. But then my children grew up, starting having children of their own, and as Jonelle noted, ... our new, separate family units start our own patterns. We each establish things with our children that are different from how our parents did it, and different from each other.
I'm a firm believer in establishing family traditions. I think they are part of the fabric of family life that holds us together when the rest of the world works so hard to tear us apart. But, as I'm learning, those traditions need to be created while keeping in mind the needs of all the individual families involved.
So this year we are going to enjoy a small, quiet Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday evening ... with just some of our extended family. Two weeks ago we enjoyed a wonderful meal with most of our family (minus one college student). And next month we are making plans to hopefully have all of our family together the Saturday after Christmas.
Growing up is hard. I suspect it was difficult for my parents when my brother and I left home, got married, began raising our own families and setting our own traditions. But they made room in their planning for our schedules and needs, yet worked hard to keep some of our family traditions alive. We've now added another layer/generation to our family story, and are working together to establish some new traditions to share.
We were blessed to have my 90 year old aunt with us for our family meal two weeks ago. As she sat quietly watching all the activity around the dinner table (she watches a lot these days as she is unable to hear much of what is going on around her), she leaned over to my dad (her brother), and said "See what you started?" Her perspective was precious to me ... a room full of the noise of children and adults sharing a meal together, and in her mind, she was remembering where it all began.
May you enjoy your own family traditions this season ... revel in the fact that your holiday plans are unique to you ... and give thanks for what you've started!
Still on the journey ...