t r a d i t i o n

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tradition. It never changes. 
That's kinda the point.

I was feeling indifferent about coming home (because I was feeling indifferent about everything), but I knew as soon as I got here I would be happy.
And of course, I was right.
It's strange how something as simple and often unnoticed as license plates can make you feel so overwhelmingly at home. Everywhere I look, it's an Arizona license plates - no duh. But in Kansas it's like I'm constantly searching and then when I do find one it's a strange jolt of familiarity.
  Even just being in Sky Harbor makes me feel like I belong.
It's always on the ride home from the airport that I sometimes think that I could mayyybe come back here and be happy. But then by the end of my stay, I'll probably deny that.
The thing is, this is where I grew up. My whole entire life was in this sunny state until just two years ago, so as far as leaving home goes, I'm an inexperienced newbie.
But I can tell you that being away makes coming back that much better.
I always fantasized about the coming home part - wearing my Kansas hoodie and everyone being so excited when I walked through the door.
And I gotta say, it's pretty damn near that, except for the hoodie part, which I still don't have. But the welcome party is pretty welcoming. 

Ah, Christmas time, eh?

So far, being home has been nonstop tradition.
As soon as we got home from the airport (and drank some hot chocolate...on the porch no less) it was tree decorating time.  Just like every year, we played the same Radio Disney Holiday Jams cd and put up what ornaments we have left (because our tree had a nasty habit of falling over).

Rob has been on a pizelle making craze, which is traditional Italian but we've never made them in our family.
Then Grammy and Pap came over (late, because they had fallen asleep watching tv) with their famous meatball stuffed peppers.
 That makes it seem like that's the one dish they make that's legendary in our household, which is quite the opposite. If I were to list them all, it would take up a whole other post. Our family is Italian, so a LOT of what we do involves food.
A lot.
So we had the meatballs.
The next day was Sunday, and after some running around, ma mere et moi, we wrapped some presents.

And then.
The piece de resistance.
The Nutcracker at Symphony Hall.
A 15 year tradition still going strong.  
My mom used to carry me in a blanket, and we would leave after the first half. I believe it started when I was about 5, and we have not missed a year yet. Lots of times everyone would come along, but then we discovered it was a lot more fun without complaining boys who didn't want to be there.
So it evolved into a girls night.
And as I watched last night, I was thinking how it just never. gets. old. 

Tradition. It never gets old.
That's kinda the point.

I've seen that ballet easily 15 times, and heard the music infinitely more than that. And it is still such a wonder each year.
When we got home, we had Pap's chicken paprikash, our usual after-Nutcracker meal.
And it was utterly delightful, as always.

I place a lot of value on tradition. Which isn't to say I don't like branching out and trying new things. But a tradition is a tradition for a reason- it is worth repeating. It has meaning and love and is special. Taking the effort to make the same meals exactly as they should be, decorating the same way or hosting the same parties takes a lot of effort.
It takes work and commitment, but it is always, always worth it.
Traditions are the things of legends.
They are what my mom and grandparents talk about when we gather around the dining room table.
They are what my brother and I will remember about our childhoods, and then recreate for our families.

Traditions remind you who you are, which is exactly what I needed this year.

Tomorrow night we're having the caroling party, another favorite. And Christmas Eve and Day will be full of usuals as well.

Home sweet home.

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