Hey there mama,
Growing up, I loved watching shows with big families. Brothers & Sisters, Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters (is this a reminder of the former TGIF or what?). And, I’ll admit that I may be starting to slowly watch Parenthood all over again.
There’s something about these shows that really draws me in. Maybe it’s the unconditional love (even amongst all the arguing and banter). Maybe it’s my genuine longing to live near family and pop-in for coffee on a whim (rather than the big production of travel). Maybe it’s the fact that rarely is anyone ever alone.
What I think I love most, though, is the sacredness that many of these shows hold around traditions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, even regular Sunday dinners. The families gather for meals, games, bonding over long tables under the stars. I want to create that feeling of magic for my family, too.
Lately, I’ve been feeling pulled between upholding current family traditions and doing what is best for my family right now. And, it’s hard. Maybe you as a mother have felt this way, too?
The reality is, many of us are far away from family during the holidays. We may love the idea of traveling home. Or we may not. Or we may find that this moment in time, it’s just best to stay put.
And, that’s what my little family is doing. Our current locale in RI is a seven hour drive from family in Maryland (according to Google Maps), but what we know is more like nine or 10 with a dog and 17 month old. Amiright?? With a recent move and back and forth business travel, it’s just too much for us at this time.
I’ve personally been feeling supreme sadness about not going home for the holidays because I’m so attached to the past and the beautiful traditions that lie there - waking up at my parents’ home, making a special breakfast, opening gifts, heading to my mother in law’s house for brunch, having a house full of people for dinner.
And, maybe that’s the point. To let go of the attachment, but to remember the memories so fondly while creating our own. Maybe the idea here isn’t to create concrete “traditions,” but rather feelings, experiences, memories. We can honor our roots this holiday season and share them with with our growing families without the guilt of not being with those who may live further away. And, that’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
This season is about birth, rebirth, a celebration of the Divine, and the light that surrounds. When we attach ourselves to the traditions we cannot be a part of or worry about if we’re making the right choices, well…that thinking dims our light, which our families totally pick up on.
What if, instead, we appreciated and cherished those memories, while welcoming the new? What if we still made the special breakfast with our kids and watched the special movies wherever we are? What if we decided to live less by “tradition” and more by ease, wonder, and joy? What if we thought about, “What would bring us joy this season?” rather than “What are we missing?”
I bet it would feel different. In fact, it does. My family might not ever be as big or as loud as those TV shows. We may never live close to home again. But, it’s entirely possible to fill our home with just as much love this holiday season. And, whatever your situation, I know it’s possible for your family, too.
What have been some of your favorite holiday traditions growing up? How are you recreating them for your family? Which new ones have you welcomed in your homes near and far? I’d love to hear.
P.S. I’ll be taking a break until 2019 for the holidays to play with my family, watch a movie or two (which I haven’t done since Bodhi was three months old), and to finish my sleep consulting certification. I’m sending so much love to you this holiday season! <3