It doesn’t help the hunger pains…

2 Jan

My family is a little bit strange, but maybe that’s how everyone feels about their family. The grass is always greener and all that. I can only think of two things we do that are anywhere near “normal”, or at least they represented normalcy during my childhood. Everything else was a bit chaotic, unconventional, unplanned etc, but I had these things.

The first is our Christmas Eve tradition. It once involved opening a single present and stockings after dinner on Christmas Eve, then staying up late and going to midnight mass at church. Over the years, church dropped out of the equation. But the special preview present stayed. I can’t remember when this stopped happening. Last year, I think we did all of our presents on Christmas Eve and then my mom made the trek to Pennsylvania to cook Christmas dinner with my nana. This year, my grandmother has been in and out of a nursing home and the hospital. So my mom was gone days before Christmas Eve, and my sister and I were driving to Pennsylvania on the 24th. My dad decided to spend the holiday with his family. We didn’t open any presents until the following Tuesday. Who knows where we will be next year. It’s funny. It’s such a simple thing, a single present. It probably takes 20 minutes, said and done, but it has always meant a lot.

The second is family dinner. I have several friends who find it odd that sitting around a table for dinner is the standard in our house. I even have one friend whose mom put two sitting chairs where their kitchen table used to be! Are these family dinners always pleasant? No. I’ve often used the “I’m not sitting at this table” as my defiant move of choice. Lately with my mom out of town on weekends, class, my sister working; family dinners are rare. I’m going to try really hard this semester to help my mom out with grocery shopping and some cooking. Maybe I’ll save the family dinner.

It’s weird to be conscious of how things are changing. It’s not something people tell you happens when you grow up. I’m not saying I want these things to always be the same, it’s just a little bit funny to notice evolution. To long for the days gone by, but be willing to accept the change because it is what it is. There’s no way to go back, only moving forward. Making new normals, new traditions.

Something’s Missing” – John Mayer

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