Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy November

Written By: Sally

Happy November People! Aside from the impending doom of another Connecticut winter, I have been really excited to welcome November. It's the beginning of the holiday season with Thanksgiving around the corner, and Christmas not far behind. It's a time of year filled with traditions and celebrations. So many of my favorite memories from childhood, (and adulthood) have these chilly, cheery months as a backdrop.

Each year, around early November, my mom would bring the winter boxes out of storage.  We packed away our summer clothes and unpacked the warm things. She'd have me try on clothes to figure out what still fit and what hand me downs I had grown into. As simple and seemingly mundane of a task this was, it was something I always looked forward to. In fact, it's one of the traditions that I have held onto as I've started my own family.

I'm sure all those years that my mom did this, she wasn't thinking, "I'm going to make this elaborate tradition for my kids to fondly remember their childhood." It was just something we did together every year. It was just a sign of the changing seasons. But for me, it was a little bit magical.

This week was the big week around here. We pulled out our coats and mittens and filled the boxes with our flip flops and swim suits to pack them away for the winter. As I was feeling all sentimental about the process it really made me think: "Why is this such a meaningful tradition to me? Why do I even remember it?"

It's had me wondering about what my children will remember about me, and about our life now. My mom has been my best friend as long as I can remember. Will my kids  feel the same about me? I really really hope so. I pray constantly, that I'll have the relationship with my children that I have with my mom. What God reminds me of over and over, is that our relationship wasn't built in a day. There wasn't one big thing she did that made me love her and admire her. It was the hundreds of grocery trips; there were countless conversations in the car after school. It was the helping with homework, and the unpacking of winter clothes.

It's not like we didn't have special holiday traditions; we have a few. A thanksgiving toast. Putting up our Christmas Tree on my parents' anniversary. Making a nativity craft on Christmas Eve. Eggs Benedict for Christmas breakfast. But none of them were extravagant. All of these things took place on our living room floor, or around our kitchen table. They weren't expensive and didn't require any serious skill. We didn't even have to leave our house. But the common thread between all of them, is that we were together.

Isn't that the purpose of traditions? To bring us together?

I'm not one for elaborate schemes or decorations. Mostly because it's not something that comes naturally to me. I don't believe in mountains of presents or intricate traditions. But what I do believe in is the power of quality time. I've just experienced my 26th Halloween. And do you know which one stands out the most? It was when I was 4 or 5 and Halloween fell on a Sunday. We were all devastated that our parents wouldn't let us trick or treat that night. But they pulled out Monopoly, popped popcorn and the four of us kids laid on the living room floor playing board games while trick or treaters came and went. We didn't get candy or costumes that year. But we got a really fun night together, and that memory got a special spot in my heart.
There's a lot of pressure these days to create elaborate and labor intensive traditions for our families. It can be exhausting, and down right intimidating. But, if you're like me, and lack the Pinterest gene, just remember, the things that will always be most special to your family is the time you spend with them and the way you make them feel. For me, that was always the real magic of the holidays.

Photos By: Shanda Photography

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