Mom used to put this ugly turkey out in the fall, but now that I'm an adult and it's one of the few survivors from the fire, I sure do cherish that ugly thing. We had a small family growing up, but we always ended up together, crammed into someone's house and inevitably, we would have a couple of "extras" joining us. From those who's family was far away, to those who didn't know what a family was, there was always room in our Holidays to welcome them right on in with open arms and a full plate.
Grannie used to have these little birds that clipped into her Christmas tree that I adored. She had these super-thin ornaments that were hollow on one side and had belonged to her mother. I'll never see those again, but I've found some that are similar and can't wait to get them out of the boxes for my first Christmas in my own home this year.
Grandma Nan makes the most beautiful pies you've ever seen - complete with little leaves baked onto the crusts. More often than not, we ended up at her house for Thanksgiving with all four of us grown women squeezing our butts into her two-butt kitchen. Her Southern roots bleed over into her cooking and let me tell you, that is what love tastes like to me.
My Mother-In-Law sets a stunning table with centerpieces and everything coordinates. One year she even had butter in the shape of a turkey. You'll never go hungry at her house - we give her a hard time because she always has these appetizers that are so good you forget to save room for dinner! She is the epitome of the perfect hostess. By the time everyone leaves for the night, you'd never even know there had been a party at her home.
Grandma Shirley always decorated to the nines for the Holidays - ALL OF THEM. It's a running joke in the family that she would have her guest bathroom decked out for whichever holiday, from St. Patrick's Day to Halloween. Everything was coordinated and changed promptly within a few days of the Holiday changing. She was a real class act. I miss her a lot and I wish she was still here with us on Halloween for Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots and Ambrosia Salad, just like she made for her kids.
My Grandmother-In-Law, Dawna, makes everyone feel at home and welcome. Even though she's not biologically related to my husband and I, never once I have I felt unwelcome or like an outsider in her presence. She has the kindest demeanor, one that comes with raising four children of her own, having nine grandchildren (plus five spouses), and now four great grandchildren with one more on the way. When one of us gets married or has a child, she's always the one who gets the "Our First Christmas" ornament with the year.
I just read back through the post and realized there is a common thread: Moms.
All of these ladies have shaped and sculpted my Holidays. Some of them for my whole life, some for the past 14 years, but all of them significantly. They taught me what makes moments special. It's about being grateful not just for what you have, but for who you have to share it with.
Preserve the moments. Keep the traditions. Start some new ones. Hug the Moms in your life - new or old. They'll be the ones keeping traditions alive for our kids.
|My Mom and I, Veteran's Day 2011|
I'd love to hear about some of your traditions. Leave a comment or drop me a line.