I’ve had meaningful vacation in Oklahoma seeing my family and getting to spend some much needed time with my grandmother who is recovering from a stroke. This visit has really got me thinking about my life as I was growing up and, of course, of the upcoming holiday season.
My family life, growing up, was strange, yet wonderful. My sisters and brothers and I grew up in hard times with many different influences in our lives. I won’t play my little violin of woes though, because while we could have possibly had easier childhoods, we certainly had a childhood in which we were very much loved.
My relationship with my grandmother is one of the many blessed things that came from a childhood of struggle. She is my person… my person that I go to, my person that I look to and my person I’d happily emulate. (I am tearing up while typing this in a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere OKC). But, she seriously is one of the greatest people I’ve known in my life so far. She is a strong woman, fantastic mother, amazing friend and one talented lady. Everyone who has ever met her has loved her instantly. She has created such a wonderful family environment for us and for my extended family. Even after my mother and father divorced my grandmother (my father’s mother) always cared for my mother and invited her along to family events.
My grandmother always made the holidays for me growing up. Every year she would work on a ham to bring to Thanksgiving dinner and spent countless weeks working on stockings for each and everyone attending her yearly Christmas Eve Party. And after each of the holiday events we always got together casually just to eat left overs and bask in the love of the family.
Being home reminded me of how much I enjoyed the start of the holidays. It wasn’t about gifts (though, those are always nice) it wasn’t about the food (again, quite nice) but, it was always about enjoying our time with family and friends.
The holidays for me now, as I live states away from family, are about the family I’m creating. My friends, my husband and members of his family come together throughout the holidays. We are creating our own traditions—we enjoy stuffed squash and amazing turkey at our friend’s potluck Thanksgiving; we stay up late after our fondue Christmas Eve dinner opening up our holiday pajamas and wrapping last minute presents; and our Christmas morning pastries while opening presents followed with a full kitchen of cooks working on an Asian-style feast for Christmas evening.
I’m very thankful for the beginning of yet another season of enjoying old traditions and the creation of new ones. I’m thankful for the many people that make up my family.