When Trich first asked me to post, I was somewhat reluctant. Not because I didn't want to write the post for her (I think she's marvelous), but because I've been undergoing a painful "tradition transition" for the last couple of years.
When I say "tradition transition", I'm referring to the change in holiday rituals I've grown up with here, in the southeastern United States. I was raised in Georgia by my amazing grandmother, and for as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving and Christmas had her at the center of it.
She was the family matriarch, and I respected that. Maybe I even loved her all the more for it, because she was the enduring link that held our family together. For years, in spite of incredible dysfunction, we were a family (mostly) united. We came together in love and fellowship and an appreciation of amazing food, because my grandmother was the best cook EVER.
But as much as I miss her cooking, I miss her so much more. Cancer took her in March of 2010, and when she died, so did those specific traditions. My family had already been slowly separating over the years--it's just the way life works sometimes--and her death was the final stroke that destroyed our ties.
I was devastated and didn't see past my own grief for awhile. For me, Thanksgiving and other holidays became dreaded events, and I felt lost. Last year, I spent Thanksgiving with my best friend's family and my dad (former stepdad, on paper, but the man who's been dad for my whole life). I felt disconnected and out of place. I thought, This just isn't the same as granny's house, and it will never be so again.
I made myself miserable, and I was the life of the pity party, and nothing (at that time) could relieve me of it. I was heartbroken, really, but you know what they say about that. A heart might be broken but it keeps beating, and with time comes healing.
This year, I had a "come-to-Jesus" talk with myself and knew I was going to make things different, and with God's help, make them better. See, I've got this precious little girl named Ivy, and she's counting on me and looking to me to teach her traditions. I'm her mother, it's my job to make her childhood as memorable as possible, and It's time for me to step into the role to do what's right.
I did spend Thanksgiving with my dad again, but this time it wasn't with a heavy heart. I also realized something; my traditions haven't changed--only the people have. We all still said the "blessin'' (Yep, that's southern-speak for the pre-dinner prayer) before we lined up to serve ourselves in a buffet style fashion. We were all together to be thankful for the many things God has granted in a spirit of love and caring.
The foods were the ones I've always had at Thanksgiving--turkey, smoked ham, cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, potato salad and much more. Oh, and i can't forget to mention the sweet iced tea--I wouldn't be a proper southerner if I'd left that out.
It was a beautiful day, and we had a wonderful time. Next year I plan to cook at home for my little girl and husband and whoever else might be staying on at the time (I've always opened my home to people in need, so I usually have someone extra). Then I'll go to my dad's again, because I think he and his wife have started to come to expect it.
New traditions are being formed, and that's how it will always be for everyone, I'd imagine. Something old will be replaced by something new, people will come and go, and different new memories will be made throughout our lifetimes.
How we choose to accept it will determine how receptive we are to God's many blessings, and I'm choosing to roll with the changes. For myself, for my daughter, and for everyone who is still amongst the living that still needs my love. I love my grandmother, and I miss her like crazy, but I'm still living for a reason, and I suspect I'd better make the most of it.
Trich, thank you so much for asking me to post, and I apologize it wasn't a bit sooner. Many blessings to you and to all of your readers.
A wee while back Amberr kindly asked me to do to a guest blog on her blog! Sincerely, I was chuffed, as I had not being asked to do one before! This concept was in fact very new to me. She asked me to do a blog on where I live & I love where I live. Afterwards, I got to thinking, wouldn't it be lovely to ask Amberr to do a guest blog for my blog. I was genuinely excited about it, as I had requested she do a blog on Thanksgiving, as I had not ever experienced a real life Thanksgiving! However, I had been invited to my very first Thanksgiving on the 27th November 2011, by an American friend & her family, who now live in West Cork. This turned out to be a memorial day for me, because I got to meet her family & friends, who were as delicious as the food I ate that day.
Then Amberr sent me what you've read above. I loved the real human painful learning in what Amberr has written. This is life, this is also LOVE!
Go raibh mile maith agat Amberr, my sincere gratitude to you, with much love.
This is the link to Amberr's travel blog and more..........