I've never been passionately devoted to any particular holiday traditions. All the time I was growing up, of course, there were certain patterns and rituals that we followed for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and the 4th of July. They defined the ways that holidays were supposed to be -- and I loved all those details and looked forward to them and hold fondly to the memories. Still, I never felt any particular loss as I moved into my teens and early adulthood and starting adapting to different practices.
My first marriage had two distinct phases of holiday tradition -- when we still lived in Wisconsin, holidays were a semi-nightmare of trying to get to spend time with both families. It seems like we spent much of Thanksgiving and Christmas negotiating Wisconsin blizzards, never quite being able to relax and enjoy the season. Then, when we moved to DC (and then St. Louis), we kept to ourselves, and those holidays were very nice. I generally left it up to Sandy to establish how things were supposed to be.
These last ten years, I've adjusted to Lynn's way of doing holidays. She has very set patterns and very particular ways that she wants things done. It involves lots of house decorating and very set menus for the major meals. I find all of it quite amusing, and I've been able to add many of my own touches.
In years past, Marian would have gone to the Earnest family celebration on Thanksgiving day, and come over to spend time with us late in the evening. That tradition has been getting weaker over the years, and it appears that with her father's death, it finally came apart altogether. Her aunts & uncles & cousins are all doing their own things this year. So she and Josie came here for the day. And naturally, Josie was the center of attention.
She's eating solid food now. I find it rather fascinating. I know, in the abstract, all about what messy eaters babies are, but it's quite something to witness it right next to me. Of course, we all think it's incredibly cute, despite the fact that it's really rather gross.
Every year Lynn does her version of the full-blown Thanksgiving dinner -- roast turkey with bread stuffing, mashed potatos (that's my job now), green beans, a cranberry ice that is quite delicious. She makes a wonderful turkey gravy.
Josie appeared to love it all. She had a lot of fun with the mashed potatos, in particular.
Once we finished eating, and Josie finished rubbing food all over herself (along with stashing quite a bit of it in her chair, as we discovered shortly), the easiest thing was just to plop her in the sink and hose her off.
Yes, I know that this is all old hat for parents and really only cute when it's your own, but for me it's all brand new and mysterious and wonderful. I've never had any luck predicting where my life was gonna be in five years or ten years, and I gave up trying a very long time ago. But even two years ago I would never have predicted this. I certainly would never have imagined that I would be enjoying it so much.
So for now, at least, our holiday traditions are going to evolve around the little critter. For her, the next several years will establish the way holidays are "supposed" to be. I'll do everything I can to make them miraculous.