Longing for Tradition
The Fourth of July, in my world has always been a holiday of family picnics, festivals, and fireworks. When I was a child, we would always attend a picnic hosted by my paternal grandma. Tillie, my grandma, loved nothing more than to have her family together. The woman was mother to eight, seven of which were boys. She had an uncanny ability to make a meal go further than intended, taste delicious and make you feel as though the party could begin once you arrived. As a child, we would run around with sparklers, pop its, and if you were over 14, firecrackers. Most of the over fourteen set were boys and we would sit on pins and needles waiting for one of them to throw a fire cracker under our chair. It was a game that never got old…for the over fourteen set.
As time moves forward, families and traditions change. Tillie is now gone; she has been gone for quite some time. The families no longer get together except at Christmas and cousins have grown, married, had children and moved to other parts of the country. There are times I long for my bean to have that experience of extended family, a cousin as a best friend, and a grandmother who gathers her flock together and enjoys that time. But alas, those are traditions that have not been passed along. We are a small family in comparison to my dad’s family and we make every effort to create traditions our bean will remember with happiness and love. We try to incorporate traditions we practiced as children on a smaller scale. Rather than go to grandma’s house, GramBarb, Eric’s mom, comes to us. She does sleepovers, cinnamon rolls, and cookie baking with the bean. She also plays cards, board games, and watches YouTube videos. She is a good grandma and the bean enjoys her time with her immensely. There is a huge age gap between my bean and her cousins but we try to make up for lack of cousins with well loved friends who have become family.
This Fourth of July, we will spend our day with our market family. Different, yes but still enjoyable and filled with friendship. We will be exhausted from the day and Covid-19 has changed our perspective on gatherings for a bit, so picnics and parties are not going to be part of our celebration. One thing I think we will keep in mind this year is the appreciation we have for the freedoms we enjoy. Some feel these are divisive times, that our country is more divided than united. However, what we often fail to remember is that we have the luxury of freedom of speech, of varied opinions, and of our ability to express our thoughts, ideas and opinions. In this country, all those things are rights we enjoy daily. That is the glory of our country. We have the right to disagree and express ourselves. Rather than allow this to divide us, we should be thankful we have friends and family or acquaintances on Facebook, that we can openly debate with, challenge the thought process, as well as challenge the powers that be. If only we could learn to do this with respect for each other, the process, and our rights. It seems to me, the divide is not in the opinion, it is in the lack of respect for different opinions. Again, I go back to the simple idea of the Golden Rule.
However you choose to spend your holiday, stay safe, stay smart, enjoy your freedoms, and wash your hands…. especially if you are attending a get together.