Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Embrace of Family Traditions

Several years ago, I wrote on the Chart Chick blog about one of my favorite Christmas traditions ( .  In my family, it is traditional to have English Trifle on Christmas Eve. I have British ancestry, and my Grandfather Darrell Dana loved it.  He loved all things custard and tapioca.  I get that from him.  We only have trifle on this one day of the year.  So it is really connected with Christmas to me. 

Christmas 1990 was my first Christmas away from home.  In fact, I was on the other side of the world.  My first marriage was falling apart and in those days you couldn't even call home much from so far away.  I was in the Middle East and the First Gulf War was about to break out.  It was a very stressful time.  I was lonely and it didn't seem like Christmas at all.  Some friends invited us over for Christmas Eve and when they brought out English Trifle for desert, it was like the heavens opened and the light shown down on my holiday.  It was a love note from home, from my ancestors, from the past.  Like a big warm hug.  The embrace of a Family Tradition.

When my Mom made trifle, year after year, she didn't know that she was sending that love note into the future.  But sometimes it is those little things that make those connections.  It can be those traditions and that shared history that ties us together.  Those are the pieces that make a family.  Traditions are part of the team narrative you have together.

This means so much more to me now that I have young adult children.  Next year, my eldest son will be the age I was in 1990.  All three of my kids are just about to leave the nest, and while I have them all home this Christmas, I find myself on the other side of this equation as the mother in the story. What have I done to create those bonds and establish the traditions that will bind my children to our family and fill their hearts with peace and love from us when they need it?  Like most well-intentioned mothers, I've made every mistake in the book.  And I'm trying to hug them enough right now.  But hopefully I've done enough that they will have those hugs from me in the future too.  Hopefully the right pieces will be there when they need it.

What are you doing in your family?  The holidays are a big time for traditions.  What are you doing this month to celebrate your family history and create a sense of heritage in your family?  Sometimes the best traditions are little ones that are practiced all through the year.  What will your family members have to embrace them during hard times?  Hug them now, but be intentional about the hugs you send into the future too.  My mom did, and I'm so thankful for that.

I'm bringing the trifle to our family gathering this Christmas Eve.  Thankfully my Mom and Dad will both be there and I'll get to share it with them and thank them again for this bit of light in my life.  How amazing that a simple thing like a trifle could mean so much. 

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