Friday, January 02, 2009

New Years Day

As with many people, when I divorced, I left behind many traditions. In the few years that I have been on my own, I have created new ones for my girls and have left many behind, some with a sad heart.

I remember the first Thanksgiving that I was single again, and how awkward and hard it was to reconstruct a family turkey day when our family was broken. That year, I realized that it may be easier to create than to try to re-create in an environment that was not the same. I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my girls on Wed before Thanksgiving. It was successful all around and in some surprising ways. We made our own rules, for one. We started out making the menu list with the same foods we always did. In the middle of discussion over oyster dressing, one of the girls said,in a quiet voice, "I don't like oyster dressing" and the others heartily agreed. I became the brave voice that suggested, "What if we don't have it?" Well, you would have thought the mere mention of changing the menu would have brought on an earthquake, the way we all froze at that idea.

After a few moments, when the earth did not self-destruct, something eased within us, and I enjoyed all eyes on my pen as I scratched through oyster dressing on my menu list.
This new-found freedom continued and this year, well, we ate when we wanted, we had one dessert, not 3, and we basically enjoyed the whole darn experience. We have a new enjoyment of Thanksgiving.

New Years' Day we used to have a community meal for friends who didn't really have hangover plans. I liked that meal especially, because, like the annual pig picking, invites were by memory and happenstance. I loved having people count on coming into our home haggard and dehydrated, knowing they could have a bite of something that might kick off some good vibes in the coming year. We filled our house with food and people every New Years Day for years. That is one event I wanted to continue on a smaller scale and, to date, the event has worked well.

I cook pork and saurkraut with potatoes all day, collards from the garden, black eye peas with ham. I make plenty of sweet tea, and a few pies. Long about 2 pm, friends start dripping in. There are never more than 8 or 10 people present at any given time, and so I can manage the numbers, or rather, my scrambled nerves can.

This event offers a great opp to put the 6 degrees of separation thinking to work. There is nearly always an unexpected connection found among strangers.
Yesterday went well, and I was once again reminded of the importance of finding one's chosen family. My girls and I are building support and relationships through creating expanding family and it is a very very good thing. The girls enjoyed the day, and there was such a relaxed sense of calm that I did, too. This is one tradition that has managed to cross over from one life to another in our family.


Anonymous said...

So happy that you started out the year with a great time. You have so many talents ! Loonygin

Nick said...

Being single again - with children - is challenging. I like your approach to traditions! Nick