Saturday, March 26, 2016

In a world of traditions...

...having no traditions SUCKS.

I am by nature a sentimental type of person.  I love the structure that tradition lends to time and to events.  I love special days commemorated in special ways.

I grew up in a home that did none of that.

My parents, true to their 60s roots, questioned EVERYTHING.  Oh, they didn't question it enough to totally quit and move into a commune or become gypsies.  They just questioned enough that every piece of tradition that tied them to family and community became a thing of questionable value, and they HAD TO explore ways around it.

The churches they grew up in?  Problems. Let's find one that is as far from that as possible.  And then become disenchanted and leave it, and do something equally anti-tradition, and again, and again.

Taxes? Health insurance? Investment and savings?  Planning?  Too traditional.  They went for years without paying taxes, or even filing them, with no health insurance, no investments, no savings, and no planning for their retirement.

In addition to these, they frowned on celebrating holidays (any and all), birthdays, or even special achievements.  My grandparents wanted to celebrate with us, but often we would end up at home, without any decoration, and usually only presents from the extended family for Christmas.

I am sure that in my parents' heads, all of these things made some kind of sense, but to me as a child, it was just confusing and sad.  To not be celebrated as a person, to not be able to celebrate holidays that others take for left a hole that I really didn't recognize until I started my own family.

When our kids were younger, and we lived closer to family, holiday traditions always involved Jason's family and their love of celebrations.  They made a big deal out of everything, and that helped me a LOT.  I knew I WANTED to celebrate, but frankly I didn't know how, so they helped.

Now, my children are older....the youngest is 12, and the oldest is 22, and it is awkward not knowing how to celebrate.  Birthdays are easy...a meal with the family, and some gift or activity that they want to do.  Other holidays are still very, very strange to me.  The hard part is that I am the mom, and the mom sets the tone for family celebrations, and I don't know how to celebrate.  There are no family traditions to carry forward.  The "questioning everything" tone of my childhood is firmly rooted in my head, causing me to wonder about why Christian holidays are celebrated in certain ways, and whether this is okay, or that is verboten.

I wish I could celebrate.  I wish I knew HOW to celebrate.  Because having no traditions SUCKS, and I don't want that to be what my children remember.

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