Flexible Traditions

by Bella Rum

What do you mean… you won’t be home for Christmas?

Is that an oxymoron? Flexible traditions? Isn’t the very essence of tradition steeped in the notion of doing a thing a long-established way?

The older I get the more I realize that things do not, will not or cannot stay the same, and there’s no payoff in stomping my foot and demanding the contrary. Flexible is the only way to go, and acceptance is the pathway to flexible.

Ever since we stood around campfires in front of caves, we’ve shared songs and stories with those we hoped would keep them alive. We’re hardwired to pass along our traditions. It took a few years, but I eventually realized if I didn’t learn to bend the tradition the tradition would bend me into an emotional pretzel.

As families grow and change, our holidays change. How unrealistic it would be to expect them to stay the same, yet I’ve struggled with this in the past. As the years  fall away faster and faster, I feel an even greater tug on my heart to spend more time with my son and his family, but as families grow and jobs move and economies falter, tradition gets a sock in the nose.

Christmas will be a little different for us this year. In fact, that seems to be a new tradition – each year is a little different. Though we will not be spending the holidays with our son and his family, we have been blessed beyond our greatest expectations.

Our newest granddaughter will arrive on the 28th. She is our second December grandchild. Our grandson was born on the twenty-first. Obviously, my son and his family are unable to travel here for Christmas. My DIL’s parents will arrive at their house a few days before the birth and stay with them the first couple of weeks after the birth. When they return home in January, we will fly out there.

We haven’t decided what we will do on Christmas, but whatever happens, it will be fine. We will be holding a new grandchild in only a few weeks. How could there be a better gift than that? Tradition is a wonderful thing, but occasionally, if it is to survive at all, even tradition must bend to accommodate the flow of life.