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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Am Thankful for... Traditions!  

Change is inevitable. And, while I am pretty spontaneous and can roll with it most of the time—even thrive on it—I appreciate a degree of consistency throughout the changes. There is something about having certain anchors in the sea when waves come rolling in to keep you stable, right?

Anchors come in various forms, represented by a constant... like family members, religious beliefs or spirituality, passion and conviction for anything really—like politics, a cause, or a specific type of food. I'm telling you that life is better for me when cheese is around.

One of my favorite type of anchors isn't something that happens every day. Rather, it happens maybe once a year or on a less frequent than a daily basis anyway. It is a tradition. Something that has happened over time—perhaps even generations of time—that is so constant that life would seem unfamiliar and even sad without it.

A jar of sauerkraut grown in my mom's garden and canned by her. Mmmmmmm!

Here is my list of favorite traditions I have grown up with or recently started:

  • Going on a daddy-daughter date before Christmas every year.
  • Choosing a box from the "Money Tree" at Christmas time.
  • Eating sauerkraut at all major holiday meals.
  • Going to San Diego on summer vacations as a child.
  • Getting a father's blessing on the first day of school every year.
  • Going for a Sunday drive every Sunday between the ages of 10 and 16 so my dad could teach me how to drive.
  • Getting together with my Aunt Judy and her family to make Christmas candy every December.
  • Doing the "12 Days of Christmas" for a family less fortunate than us.
  • Visiting Strand Bookstore every time I go to New York City.
  • Playing the Silly Song on the piano and enjoying my kids dancing.
  • Going to see the witches at Gardner Historic Village during Halloween time (new tradition with my kids).
  • Celebrating my birthday for the month leading up to it! (And, making my family and friends celebrate it with me LOL!)
  • Having Christmas Eve with my in laws and their families and acting out the Christmas Story while my FIL reads it from the book of Luke.
  • Eating my grandma's grape sherbet ice cream.
  • Going on sister's vacations.
  • And...
This last tradition isn't one that happens at regular times. It doesn't need a special holiday to make it special. And what you need to know is that I don't like most desserts, including cookies. But, there is something about Banana Cookies that makes everything right in the universe. So my last and favorite tradition is just a batch of banana cookies.

At my grandma's funeral, the church made a delicious meal. We were expecting traditional funeral food, but there was not a dry eye in the room when they brought out my grandma's favorite food—the things she had made for all of us her entire life. And, what made it so memorable were the platters of banana cookies! We didn't know other people that ate them. We brought them to every family event. Aunts and uncles argued over who could make them better. Should they be crisp, doughy? How many chocolate chips was the perfect amount? I loved them soft and then frozen.

My favorite part about traditions? MEMORIES! Whenever I want to feel close to my grandma, all I have to do is make a batch of banana cookies and she may as well be standing right next to me.

What are your traditions?

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