Holiday Traditions; What to do with Family; How do You Cook a Turkey?

The topic here is this: WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH THE HOLIDAYS?

Who travels to whose house, and what are the new traditions going to be? ”

Do I make new traditions or stick with the old? One kid is married, one soon to be, 3 grandchildren, empty-nest most of the time, single again. So, what’s what with the holidays? My friend, Jen, and I were talking about this very thing over dinner. We googled what do do at the holidays when you’re an empty nester? We actually got some pretty good ideas.

Hey adult children are hard. Just a head’s up for those of you who still have little ones.

My mom gave up on this topic early on. Before she died, she and her boyfriend, Bob, would drive around looking at Christmas lights while listening to a radio station narrating the experience. Then they hit up the Cracker Barrel. Not a bad plan.

Some families do the Double Holiday deal. Go to one parents house, then the other. If said parent’s are divorced, that’s 4 houses in one day. 4 meals and 4x the grumpy kids. If grandparent’s are still hanging in there with their holiday traditions, then adult children are screwed. How many holiday affairs can one family go to and not decide that next year it is Tahiti baby?

Okay, so, if life is transitioning then it stands to reason that the TRADITIONS are TRANSITIONING. (I should name the post that, but I won’t because I prefer long wordy titles to quick, snappy ones.)

So what to do? I don’t know. I’m literally playing it by ear year-to-year. This Thursday I’ll be at the Grove Park Inn Spa, alone and well, probably pretty darn happy. It’s been a long year of hard work. A spa day indeed. Then dinner at The Vue 1913, joined by one child and his girlfriend. I am actually looking forward to doing something different, and I’m beginning to figure out that if I don’t change, I’ll be left behind.

Still, there are lingering conflicted emotions. Subtitled and all.

Conflicted Emotions

The older I get, the more people I miss. That’s the thing, more and more people are missing from my holiday table. It ain’t just the kids anymore. My daddy. My mom. Old friends. And, as my table diminishes in size, and my ability to cook flies out the window, I find the holidays are transitioning in more ways than where to spend them and what new traditions to come up with. I miss the people who used to grace my holiday table.

I  go to my children’s homes and feel blessed beyond measure to see them and be with them, but I do miss that table set for everyone. I miss the faces I grew used to seeing year after Thanksgiving year. I miss my holiday traditions, even as I embrace the new ones that aren’t so traditional.

Holiday Traditions Wish

I often ask my kids, Okay what’s the best case scenario here? If you could have anything? So I ask myself, best case scenario? Easy. Everyone around my table for one meal. Just one. The whole family together for one day, one hour, one moment in time. Then we can all go back to separate lives and separate ambitions, but, for that one holiday day, there’d be no holes, no one missing from my table.

And, I’d remember how to cook a turkey.

 

Going Minimal, Ready for Wherever God Sends Me (I think, I hope)

I decided on the minimalist approach to my blog design, because that is my life now. Minimal. I’m in transition, and so I travel light.

After spending 20+ years building a life for a family, which meant buying furniture, Christmas decorations (and Thanksgiving, Easter, July 4th decorations…) and outdoor furniture and grills for family cookouts, and suitcases for family vacations, and on and on, I now hear God saying to my spirit, “Keep it light.”

Moving from South Turkey Creek, where I lived over 20 years, was an eye-opener. Not a new one, really. I’ve often wondered if we Americans have too much stuff, but to be the living example of it while emptying out my things from South Turkey Creek was sobering. Why on earth did I have all of that? Was it really necessary? Who knows? I probably thought it would make our home more home and our family more family.

Now, the things in my home would fit into one moving truck, and not the 18 wheeler kind. It is rather refreshing, and I contemplate if I will keep it this way or eventually replace what was left behind with more of the same. Again, who knows?

I don’t hear God suggesting it. In fact, he seems to be saying just the opposite. While others are asking me when I plan to start dating again (as if all I have to do is to accomplish that is stick my head out the door and holler for a man), if I’ve decided where I am going to live (as in permanently), and will I always manage a flower market (after all, it is a blue collar job), I feel God saying I want you ready. Ready for what? I don’t know. But now, I am in a position to go wherever He needs me too, without hindrance of man, house or job. It is pretty exciting.

I’ve always wanted to be used by God for something BIG. I’m probably not even supposed to write that as the Christian motto is often about finding contentment in the least of circumstances. But, there it is. I don’t mean Beth Moore kind of big. I mean small actions that lead to big reactions. I mean everyday things that impact eternity. Like telling someone Jesus loves them and for the first time they believe it. Or quite literally giving someone a cup of water who is thirsty.

I am still looking for a home, but I am beginning to understand that my new home may not look a thing like the last with its cherry paneling, big stone walls and cathedral ceilings. Perhaps it will be a hut in a remote place, or a palace on a cliff, or a brick rancher on a street corner. Wherever it is, I am ready.