Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Family traditions

Day 27 of the November photo challenge falls on Thanksgiving, which is perfect because the prompt for today is family traditions.
Growing up, we always celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom's family. She's #8 of 12 kids, so we'd gather each year at a rented venue that could accommodate our large crowd. Us kids would run amok while the grown ups chatted and cooked. We'd all sit down and eat a delicious meal and after such a busy day, we'd go home and slip into a food coma. Those family functions are why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
For the tale end of my teens and early 20s, the holidays weren't celebrated with the same excitement as they had in my childhood. There weren't any solid traditions made or followed.  Once Justin and I got together, that changed. The yearly tradition was to go to Justin's parents' house for dinner. Justin's sister and her family would be there, too. Judy and Brenda would inevitably argue, us girls would cook while the guys watched football or looked through the black Friday ads in the newspaper. After dinner, Justin, Judy, and I would plot our Black Friday shopping trip, then we'd go home with a million Tupperware containers full of leftovers.
Last year was the first since Judy passed. Our friends the String-Greens came and celebrated with us. At the time we were beginning the process of buying Judy's house, but weren't living in it yet. However, all of Judy's stuff was still where she left it, so we decided to hold on to our tradition and gather around the same table we had been gathering at for years.
This year the holidays are still bittersweet. It's Presley's first Thanksgiving, but Judy's not here to celebrate and we're estranged from Justin's sister, which means the big family holiday is a thing of the past. Justin's dad came over for dinner and although she is forbidden to see us, Melissa came over for dinner, too. I cooked the traditional Thanksgiving feast and sent Lyle with leftovers.
I'm hoping that as time wears on, we'll come up with one or two new traditions to mix in with the old. Things just seem so strange with the family broken into pieces, so it would be nice to fill that void in a positive way. I have such fond memories of Judy scooting around the kitchen in her robe and slippers, cooking and sampling the food. Our last Thanksgiving together, I decided to start a new tradition of making an alcoholic drink called an apple pie. Judy and I agreed it was a good call on my part. This year I had Trin in the kitchen helping make pumpkin pie and fruit salad. She enjoyed it, so I think the biggest tradition we continue will be mother/daughter cooking.
And the food coma. We will definitely carry on the fine tradition of lapsing into a food coma after dinner.

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