April 9, 2012

Letting Go of Tradition

An example of a tradition that's gone through a lot of change...

Easily one of the biggest hardships I felt in the aftermath of my parent's divorce was the loss of tradition. They tried to keep it the same, but because we now had two houses to go to for every holiday and birthday the traditions got split up between parents: one did brunch while the other took care of dinner, we still got stockings at Christmas and baskets at Easter and one parent did a birthday dinner while the other maybe did a party the weekend before. It worked for a while, but when we got older and lives got more complicated the traditions started dropping. It was hard on me and I felt like I was the only one who cared. Truth be told I shouldn't have cared because I was too old for most of that anyway, but so much had changed during the previous years that I just wanted the traditions to feel normal.

But I'm getting better in my old age. And honestly I don't know what to attribute that to... am I really maturing? Do I just not care anymore? Has there been so much change that I've given up? A combination? Maybe. But I think it has a lot more to do with my relationships with my family members than anything. For a while I was working a tourist job and it was easy enough to stay in San Diego and work, allowing my coworkers to spend time with their families and earning some extra money I was desperate for... and I did feel a little like it might just be easier on everyone if I just didn't go for the holidays, which were always stressful enough on their own, and I couldn't seem to keep my mouth shut around certain people or situations. Now that everyone's a little bit older and has gone through their own personal ordeals they're letting me be myself as much as I'm letting them do the same and we're all getting through the holidays a bit easier. And at least we still have the same food traditions: Easter just wouldn't be the same without the lamb cake or buttercreams, just like we can't have Christmas without fudge and start every holiday with "holiday food" (most people call it eggs benedict). 

I have, however, noticed that it's been a lot easier for me the last year or so because I really like who my sister is dating and my other sister and mom haven't had anyone serious enough to make a big deal of. And since Thanksgiving I've had someone I'm excited to bring home, someone they seem to actually love, someone that makes me visibly happy. And I don't really know why but it makes me more excited for holidays because I'm bringing someone who's so accepted by my family. It's exciting in a way I haven't felt towards the holidays in over a decade. It's always wonderful to spend time with them, but knowing that they not only accept but like and welcome someone who's so important to me makes me the happiest of campers around the holidays. 

Now, if only I could get the cat to get along with the dogs...

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