It was suggested to me that I revamp an earlier entry on traditions that was posted to another blog.. As I prepared to do so, an incident occurred, rather a mother fucking motorcycle accident, happened, altering not only my sister's skeletal structure, but the family Christmas plans.
So I opened the previous entry posing the question of, what is your tradition? We say we have them, and we try to adhere, but what happens that day the tradition stops? What do you do when the memory of a tradition is sullied by a death, an argument with a spouse, the wreckage of a family? Do we pick up from where we left off, or do we create new traditions? And in following with tradition, is the creation of the new one something that we want to pass on to extended family and/or possible products of procreation?
Since senior year of high school, my family has participated in the distribution of a hot breakfast to the homeless at our local park on Christmas morning. My aunt, the saint of a woman, wanted to gift to those what little she could, as an appreciation to the life that she lived. Her intent and goodwill was wholehearted as she distributed over-sugared hot chocolate, and coma inducing cookies to a group of diabetics. We were not deterred The following year we were better prepared, flourishing with donations of freshly prepared breakfast, to well assembled care packs. The momentum of this tradition raged on, each year gaining more and more donations from all over the spectrum. Our homeless could choose more than just cookies and socks! We diligently participated in this event, planning and strategizing as the date approached. This “tradition” gained so much respect in our home that it completely replaced gift opening on Christmas morning.
The family participated for almost ten years, each year leaving a beautiful memory that we would share and recruit for the next year. But last year was a little different. As I entered the Safeway to retrieve last minute items, I received a call. "Come home now". *Click*Dad had been sick for a while, having only recently been discharged from the hospital. Although he had been cleared to come home in time for Christmas, there was something about him that didn't seem right. He was still marginally unresponsive. I pulled an asshole move and left the coca cola bottle in the tampax rack. I zoom down 11th street, finding myself in a race with an ambulance headed towards my house.
"Shit, he fucking died while I had a fucking bottle of soda in my hand" I hold my breath, counting to an indiscriminate number, as if this act would force the ambulance to drive in another direction. It didn't.
But this is where the tone changes, because my dad didn't die. He was sick, and we did spend Christmas in the hospital. The whole clan gathered in that hospital, and we all rallied to get my dad up and better. But we didn't have to bury anyone, and we didn't have to equate Christmas with a death. So yeah, the tradition of handing out food to the homeless was temporarily set back, but we knew that next year we'd be able to make it up.
Well fuck, next year is here. And this year, with tears of joy, I can say again that we are not handing out food to the homeless, nor are we planning a funeral.
My sister was in an accident that typically kills. She was hit by a car while on a motorcycle. Her pelvis is broken, her arm will need pins. But that girl, my sister, my baby, she is alive. And no, we are not passing out food at the park on Christmas morning. But we are going to all squeeze in to that hospital, annoy the staff with our presence, smother her with our good intentions while annoying and interrupting her rest.We are going to bicker and compete for her attention as we all rally to be with her and let her know that we love her and that we can't wait for her to come home. Because that is our tradition. We do it all, and we do it together. And when the one falls, we all link to get them back up.
So maybe we broke from tradition, or deviated...yeah, lets say that one. But the fact remains that regardless of what we do, or where we spend the holiday, our tradition is to be together.
And one day, ten years from now, maybe my child will be learning what it is to be a part of this tradition. Maybe they will be too small, or maybe they wont exist. But both my dad and my sister will be there, and the memories from those moments will cast a light over every memory, and bring a hope to future ones.
So tell me, what are your traditions that you follow, or ones that you’d like to begin?