I did not get around to posting last week as we were on the road to visit with my family over the holiday break.
We didn’t all get together at once this time. That means something: Mom is one of ten kids in this family and when we all get together, it gets crowded and loud. (And in the summertime, you can add oppressively hot to the list.) We ate, we talked, we played games, we read, we did puzzles. (We also watched the Eagles play – that’s not usually part of the festivities…but we made an exception for it this year.)
We also enjoyed tradition.
I posted this picture to Facebook on Sunday evening – where the long-standing tradition is to enjoy Junk Food Night. Ice cream. Popcorn in big tubs. Crackers. Chips and dip. Cheese and summer sausage. Cookies. And honestly whatever else we decide we can fit on the table.
We’ve done this as long as I can remember and we practice it here at our house haphazardly (i.e. whenever my son reminds us we should have it – we’re not usually home for Sunday dinner so we’ve tried it on other nights of the week, but they just don’t feel right).
I loved the long string of comments and questions about this one picture on my Facebook feed – and I giggled at the thought of Barbara O’Connor writing my grandmother into one of her books. (But seriously…how cool would THAT be?!)
Some of those comments made me look around the table over the course of the evening with different eyes. I saw memories and stories I wanted to share and couldn’t help but smile as I thought of them. I did some scribbling in my notebook later, but otherwise kept them to myself.
One of those memories felt like it came to life in my son. See, Grandma has this little tiny enclosed space in the living room – think of a super small version of Harry Potter’s closet. There are toys in there – most of them are the same that I played with as a kid so they are well-loved to say the least. There’s also a little desk and chair that was equipped with scissors and paper and crayons that are just as vintage as the toys.
My son set about cleaning up the space (a concept that just makes me laugh since he is not really one for cleaning up his spaces at home…) and decided to create a business there. His business? Reading books. He had a whole stack of them there that he was working his way through. But like any good businessman, he knew he needed to attract an audience to his place of business. So he offered tours of the newly organized closet and even offered to create pictures for those who came for tours by a certain time.
I remember my brother and I doing something so similar at one point. The cleaning, mimicking the busyness of work that we saw adults doing, and offering something to those who came to check out our work. (I think it was pictures, but it could have easily been toys or stories. Or hugs.)
This is the beauty of these Christmas and New Year’s – and what I wanted to celebrate: they serve as reminders of who we have been, cues to look forward to who we’ll be in the next. You cannot fully appreciate one without the other.
I hope you welcomed 2014 in with celebrations of your memories and dreams of your futures.