Tag: adulthood

Tradition or Bust

Annual Cookie Baking Day
Annual Cookie Baking Day

A great irony greeted me. The source was flesh of my flesh. Traditions that had been acclaimed as unchangeable fell beneath the barrage of personal plans.

A son of mine was incensed when I mentioned to him last year in December that things were changing. The kids were becoming adults. Soon, the family Christmas traditions of his childhood would become a thing of the past.

One of the tragedies of adulthood – you have to let the childish things go.

“We will always get together on Christmas Eve. All of us.” His emphatic announcement of one year ago.

When you get married, I told him, you might discover that your spouse’s family has their own Christmas Eve traditions. Somehow, the two of you will meld these into a new set of traditions for your own household.

This is how it happened for me. Christmas Eve was born after my mom remarried and her husband’s parents had a mandatory Christmas Day gathering. Mom’s family gathered on Christmas Eve and the other family on Christmas Day.

Happily, this worked right into my husband’s family traditions. They had never really celebrated on the eve before Christmas. It became the time my mom, sister and I brought our families together to exchange gifts.

Every year, we added another item to the tradition. The kids performed a pageant of sorts every year. My husband and I shared a Biblical perspective on the holiday. Gathering around the piano to sing carols is the newest addition to the list.

Christmas Eve caroling
Christmas Eve caroling

This is what my son wants to continue.

Except this year he will be spending Christmas Eve “day” with his girlfriend’s family. What happened to the tradition being set in stone?

I’m sad that my son will miss most of the festivities. “I’ll be there by 4pm,” he says. Just in time for darkness to fall and gifts to be exchanged. After most of the other traditional happenings are finished.

Did I say “I told you so” to my son? Not in so many words, but I parroted his words from twelve months ago back to him.

Did he say, “You were right, Mom. Things are going to change”? *Falls on the floor laughing* That would be an emphatic “no.”

But we both know who won this argument. If there was an argument. Which there wasn’t because that’s not part of our traditional Christmas. Ha!

What traditions do you hope to hold onto as your children grow into adulthood?

Bittersweet Birthdays

Isn't that the most innocent face?
Isn’t that the most innocent face?

My baby boy was born at a few minutes after midnight twenty years ago.

Just typing those words encouraged another gray hair to emerge – right in my part, of course!

Remember when you were five? People would ask, “How old are you?” and you always said, “Five and a half” if it was the day after your birthday or “Almost six” if your birthday was six months or less away.

What were we thinking? That the next age would offer us something the current one did not. The curse of youth is that we don’t realize how fleeting it is until it has taken wing and flown far away.

When we were ten, we couldn’t wait to be twelve. Once we got to twelve, we wanted to be a teenager. At thirteen, sixteen seemed the age when real freedom would be attained. Once we had that driver’s license, we wanted to be eighteen so we could “go where we want whenever we want and not have to do what anyone says.”

Yeah, right! The irony of adulthood – the freedom it promises to those dominated by parental control is just a chain of a different sort. Adulthood: bills, jobs, problems and responsibilities. All that stuff our parents handled for us while we were whining about enjoying our youth, it falls on our shoulders now.

Leaving teenagerhood behind to conquer the world
Leaving teenagerhood behind to conquer the world

My baby is no longer a teenager. He bemoaned this at church camp last year, when he was still weeks away from nineteen and very much a teenager. The leaders wanted him to be in charge of things. He just wanted to be one of the kids.

Get used to that feeling, son, it’s coming your way more frequently as your age number increases.

After college, the fun and games of youth become the drudgery and responsibility of adulthood.

Welcome to my world.

What birthday did you look forward to the most? Which one did you dread?