When I hear the word tradition - here's what it immediately conjures up in my mind: thoughts of warmth, love, acceptance. Thoughts of a cozy home surrounded with loving family and nurturing grandparents, gathering by a fireplace at the feet of caring parents and siblings - hearing loved ones' laughter echoing from the kitchen while preparing recipes that have been passed down through generations. On the other hand, I also associate it with popular mind-numbing customs that are followed by generation after generation without any thought of where those customs originate from or what they really mean and why they started to begin with. As a result, that word has somewhat put me off as I've never been one to follow a certain pattern of life without knowing exactly the reason behind it, or without asking myself, does the custom promote the idea that a person is not responsible for his or her own actions? Simply practicing something mindlessly just because you learned it from someone else (parents or others) never made sense to me. Like a Lemming following the herd over the cliff. I suppose, not having grown up in a traditional family forced me to develop this kind of awareness to think deeply about the choices and decisions I make, because our decisions not only affect us, but also others even when we don't think they do. However, although that word wells up such a mental saga in my head, I find that I still like the idea of what it could mean (as described at the outset). Lately, I've been thinking to myself 'well, although tradition is normally associated with customs that I might not necessarily believe in, it still doesn't mean that I can't create for myself the environment that I think of and wished for most of my life, by setting in place fun annual routines for the hubby and I to look forward to with each year.' So this year, I've decided to start our own set of family traditions.
For the longest time, I never thought the life of just the two of us constituted a family (say what?!). Until one day a discussion ensued about what makes up a family and he helped me to come to grips with the realization that even two people (like us) are considered to be a family. I know, major brainfart. Now that I know you don't necessarily need to be more than two to be considered a family, I resolved that this year we'd start our new annual family traditions, one of which will be going upstate for apple picking and using the apples to make fresh apple pie. It's such a small thing, yet it's something that we've never done. I guess when you grow up in the beauty of Long Island, you never feel the need for a change of scenery. And it's not because we've never been invited by friends, but every time we'd get an invite in the past (even including a last minute one last month), apple picking dates never seem to fall on the right days for us. This past week we were itching to see the beautiful fall foliage of upstate, so we decided that it was time to start our new tradition right away, (even though we were late for actually picking the apples off the trees, they had no chance as we were just as eager to pick them right out of the barrels at the farm.) The orchard's were aglow with red, orange and yellow leaves as far as the eye could see, and I got to indulge on some 'hot fresh out of the oven' apple cider doughnuts in this whimsical setting. Hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm. Yum! Making that drive made us feel so grateful to be back home in NY, especially during this time of year. It's simple moments like these that create the fondest memories, melting away problems if even for a brief period of time. Yes, even the smallest family of two can glow with warmth, kindness and love.
Do you appreciate the family you have?
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." - Amelia Earhart