The idea of tradition is so alluring to me. I want my kids to grow up having pride in traditions of their childhood. I want them to pass on traditions they loved from the memories they will never forget. But I have to say, I have some fears about my “tradition game”. My side of the family doesnt really have any traditions, for some reason or another. Reflecting on this truth has made me sad at times. When family life is hard, things like traditions kinda get pushed into the gutter, to be washed away into the storm drains, with the next rain.
Luckily for me, I married into a family who has traditions!
My husbands side of our tribe, has laid a foundation, deeply rooted in family tradition, for the most exciting, most looked forward to, most anticipated, most talked about holiday of all holidays, federal and state combined. This holiday is Thanksgiving. It is filled with generations of grandparents, aunts and uncles, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, in-laws and cousins. Many, many cousins. There is endless hours of music playing, puzzle piecing until our vision is blurred, gaming board games and card games and dress-up games and karaoke and turkey trots. And of course, the food.
This gathering is tradition.
What makes this holiday so heart gladdening, you ask? I’ll name a few of the all-time top ranked reasons, for me at least.
Where most families might anticipate the roasted turkey, maybe a lamb leg or even a prime rib, some of us, on this day of giving thanks, anticipate something far more valuable than rubies.
For it is not just any ham, no, no this ham even far outweighs the infamous HoneyBakednot even merely a honey baked ham. It is Aunt Kelly’s ham. It is a ham sent straight from the love factory of heaven. It is slow roasted in a 7-Up, brown sugar, cherry juice marinade. Did you hear that? Yes, soda, plus sugar, marinade. My perfect piece has an outer shell of glory that once you bite into it, the ham molasses begins to ooze out down your throat and before you swallow one bite, your taste buds are screaming for the next bite of sweet bliss, and maybe for a brief moment I wish I was not a christian and the rapture would be upon us so that I may be left all to myself for one moment with this glorious heaven ham.
Now this ham is not for everyone. I’m not even sure its for me. You literally get a cavity just from passing by it. Yet I look forward to it, every year.
This ham, is a tradition
The gathering usually consists of up to 75 relatives, who travel from all over the western half of the US. They come bearing food. They come bearing and musical instruments. They come bearing suitcases and rental cars. They come, they all come.
Then there is the Klinge Sing. We have printed, song books. The song books contain the lyrics to Christmas carols, oldies but goodies, songs that the youngest generation of teens have suggested, and hymns. From Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer to May the Circle Be Unbroken, there is a song for everyone from child to matriarch. We set aside a special time, that usually lasts for hours, to sing and play music. The song books are passed around, and there are not enough for everyone, so you get close and share with your neighbor. There are shakers and clappers and everyone can sing along, play along, tap along, or just watch if their singing voices should probably not be shared with people who can hear. But no matter what, at any moment during the Klinge Sing, if you pan around the room, you will see, that every single person is smiling.
The Klinge sing, is tradition.
But I have to admit, the whole tradition thing is a bit intimidating. I have some fears about my own “tradition game”. I feel like all the other families have all the great traditions. And I look at me, and I’m like “what have I brought to the tradition potluck?” Nothing. But I dont stay there. I refuse.
I may not have any family traditions that I have brought into our family, but my husband and decided a few years ago that we would be intentional about making new traditions. And so far, we have a few. And they are awesome, for our family.
So whether you have old traditions or new traditions, just keep doing fun stuff. Fun stuff is fun stuff and if you keep doing the fun stuff, then fun stuff becomes the tradition, right?
As our traditions are to be continued, I hope yours are as well!