Reviving Lost Traditions

It begun with the Christmas tree – a small, three foot artificial that my mother had bought me many moons ago. As I pulled down and plumped up its synthetic limbs, I couldn’t help but remember the day I entered my apartment and found it set up for me. I was being rather humbugey that year, refusing to succumb to the conventional need of decorating. She had snuck into my humble abode, adorned it with lights and miniature ornaments. I still remember the pleased expression on her face when I hugged her, thanked her, and told her it was beautiful. It was something I hadn’t realized I had needed that year.

Mom’s miniature Christmas Ornaments

“We used to go The Property and cut down a tree every year” my hubby says from behind us. His eyes have taken on a glassy, far way look, akin to a person who is trying to retrieve the last vestiges of a dream.

“We did too, that first year we were together. And you picked out the homeliest looking little tree. We brought it home and set it up in the corner…”

“…and those two cats…”

“…would use the rocking chair as a launching pad to hurl themselves into the tree…”

“…there were pine needles everywhere…”

“…and you swore that you would never have a mess like that again…”*

“When we were kids, we used to travel all across the country visiting family.”

“Us too. And mom would drag out the gold plated china on Christmas Eve…”

And so the memories flowed, the way they do every Christmas. Our voices soft and dampened with a slight touch of sadness as we remembered the celebrations of long ago.

*It was the last year we ever had a real Christmas tree. It was also the year his father passed away. Strange, that it took me this long to make the connection.


 

I spent the better part of last week prepping and preparing for a melancholy-free Christmas. As a stepmother, there were just certain areas of life that I did not intrude upon, and Christmas was one of them. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, or that my attempts were met with scorn – they would, at least, bravely stick out their tongues to sample the dishes and  admit that they weren’t too bad. It just wasn’t their thing. They couldn’t taste the warmth I was trying to recreate. Truth be told, neither could I. And that was probably more the reason why I didn’t continue on with them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Property, 32 acres of bush, 8 acres cleared for a campsite

And we did make it out to The Property this year. We went, as a family, when my youngest step-daughter came home for Christmas.(I cannot tell how great it is to be past the teenage years.)

We hiked through the forest. We talked. We laughed. We reminisced about how things were and we all agreed that we should go out there more often. It was a pretty great Christmas for us this year. It was the first year, in a long time, that we were able to look back at the past without having it degrade the present. We were able to generate some of the warmth that this holiday season should be filled with and created some tender memories to help carry us through till next year.It was more than my little heart would have hoped for.

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54 thoughts on “Reviving Lost Traditions

  1. A dear friend of mine is stepmother to 3 grown up kids. They were young when she married their father. She, too, is finding that her relationship with 2 of the kids has turned into something very special (the 3rd has issues ).
    Family is far more than blood relationships – and the bonds created between step family members can be incredibly strong ☺

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  2. I’m not a step parent, but my Hubbie is step-father to my two kids. I remember when they were much younger how hard it was to balance arguments, to keep the peace. Now that they’re both adults, with their own children (one each), the balance has completely changed. My Hubbie is a hero, in their eyes, for taking them on and providing them with a good home and always being supportive. He’s always been a hero in my eyes for putting up with the crap.
    We also used to have real trees at Christmas, but I got fed up with the mess that is left behind, pine needles stuck deep into the carpet etc. Nine years ago we bought a fake tree and have used it ever since. We’ve found that this tree generates memories and traditions of its own. Just the familiar routine of getting the tree out, shaping and then dressing it, are now part of our Christmas routine and it feels wonderful.
    Because our children no have families of their own, they no longer come to us for the festive season. We go to them instead, not for Christmas – we have a tradition of having our neighbours round on Christmas Eve, then my parents (now elderly) come to us for Christmas Day. We visit our son and his family the weekend before (it’s near his birthday), and our daughter and her family after Boxing Day. It’s a lovely arrangement for us and means that Christmas lasts for ages!
    All the best for 2016 x

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    1. It does sound lovely! I do know the girls appreciate my relationship with them. We cherish our alone time together and I revel in the fact that we kick everybody out so we can have some one on one time. Thank you for sharing your story with me Ruth. You have painted a breathtaking view for all of my future Christmases.

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    1. I do love the smell of pine…but it is very messy. Happy New Year to you and your family. Wishing you all the very best in 2016 🙂 and many more adventures with the animals you may collect along the way.

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  3. Beautiful post… the last paragraph is so touching… I am sure that being able to reconnect with past in such ways should have been a warm, powerful Christmas experience.
    I am wishing you happy new year… sending all my best wishes. Aquileana 🍒☀️🌹

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  4. Christmas of all holidays brings us back together, take the time to say I love you and miss you…glad you were able to reconnect….and step children or biological….its easier when they get older for sure… Happy New Year…kat

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    1. It just feels good to connect with them as an adult, less of a parenting situation where you are constantly trying to steer them in a right direction. Big sigh of relief…and am grateful they make an effort to come and visit. Feels good. Happy new year to you too Kat. All the best to you and your new beginnings 😊

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  5. sometimes it takes some time, I still remember last with my mom 24 yrs ago, and i was glad my dad called instead of waiting me to call him, as his health, who knows…..i finally got the nerve to post some pix of my early years and Christmas, looking at reunion photos my bro/cousins sent got me excited again, instead of down over memories. Heck i didn’t mean to ramble///Happy new year wishes to your home from ours. 😀

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    1. Feel free to ramble here anytime Sarah. It makes it feel more like a conversation that way and I enjoy it. 😊 I am happy that you were able to be excited over xmas this year and not down. It’s a good thing, thank you for sharing 😊 happy wishes to you guys too !! Here’s hoping for a bright and sunny 2016!

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  6. Having step-parents isn’t easy too. We are blessed with nice ones and we tried our best to fit into their lives too. And of cos…my children are blessed with 2 sets of maternal grandparents 🙂 Being a step-mom is hard, I always hear my mom complain. But yet, she’s happy. Good for her that her step-children – who refuse to accept her till now – didn’t live with her. 🙂

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    1. That’s kinda funny ☺ my stepdaughters were always good to me. And then they turned into teenagers. I think I was a little surprised to be on the receiving end of their rants…I somehow thought those moments would only be for their mom and dad…goes with the territory I guess. Grateful they are over with and hopefully I won’t be so disillusioned when my little one reaches that age. (Fingers crossed) Thanks for sharing ☺ I really do appreciate it.

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