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The Tradition MakerOctober 31, 2011
by Courtney A. Buxton
It wasn’t long ago that I was simply an attender. My mom, or my aunt and Grandma, took care of Thanksgiving dinner. My dad drove the car and took us to visit old friends. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with cousins and we opened early Christmas presents if we knew we wouldn’t be together later. I didn’t buy the presents. I didn’t cook the food. I simply got in the car, ate, and opened. I attended.
(Ahem) Thank you, family.
Now that I’m a mom, I know that creating and maintaining family traditions takes work. “The Mom” cannot simply attend. She is the tradition maker, the memory creator, the cruise ship director. As a Newby Mom, you may be the tradition maker for the first time this holiday season. You may be discovering that “The Mom” role takes planning and effort, sometimes so much that you might be tempted to ask, “Is this worth it?”
Simply, yes! Now, if you are cutting out individual turkey place cards and writing a play for your nieces and nephews to perform between courses at Thanksgiving Dinner - then no, it is not worth it. You’ve gone too far.
But if you are coming up with ways to make people smile; to share love, and to build memories that may not be remembered specifically, but will be part of a fondly recalled warm glow; then yes - yes, it is worth it.
I have enjoyed tradition-making for my family over the years, but that wasn’t always the case. I found it to be stressful at first. I thought everything had to be perfect and that I had to micromanage every situation. Wrong! What I had to do was relax, and thereby set the tone in my house for a happy holiday mood. I did that by deciding on was important to me, and slowly, I’ve been testing and creating family traditions that matter to us.
In November, we make apple cider and I hang a cinnamon broom. We roast pumpkin seeds and I make pumpkin bread. We display preschool-art leaves in the windows and we find library books about Thanksgiving. We give thanks, daily, and we soak up as much of the Lowcountry sun as we can. I have yet to host Thanksgiving Dinner, but I’m sure that day is coming soon. For now, I bring side dishes and desserts, and we savor time with family. We buy our Christmas tree the next day.
I don’t have it all figured out yet. Sometimes the pumpkin bread is dry and sometimes my boys are only thankful for fire trucks. But, I am enjoying each holiday as “The Mom” more since I learned that being the tradition maker is an honor. It isn’t a chore or a heavy mantel of expectations. It is a joy, and much more fun than simply being an attender
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