Traditions

Traditions are so important to me especially when they bring family together. Making special memories with my mom walking each procession every year. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah with me, so they too, can experience these moments with their Nonni and all the family that comes together. Moments that become memories that will grow each year as they do. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah to church with me to experience the beautiful services. I love knowing that they can listen to the messages and allow it to carry in their hearts. All the traditions big or small, they are lasting and remain in our heart and memory. 

They lift us on the days when we are feeling down. They bring a smile to my face when I find it hard to smile on my own. 

Traditions for and during the holidays. The same foods, the decorations, the family games, music and laughter that are always present during this time. Even when the year is hard and the fear is great, or when there is an empty place or two at the table, the comfort and love of the holidays bring us hope for a better tomorrow, all while embracing and appreciating what we have now. I look out and see faces staring back at me and all I can do is smile because this will be a new memory because of these traditions. 

There is another new one that is very special and dear to my heart. It started when Giovanni and Isannah were just born. My childhood friend and her family, who we are blessed to have as neighbors too, came over at Christmas. They brought gifts for the kids and stayed with us for a little. This became a beautiful tradition that still happens every year because of the kindness and heart they share with us. All the kids open their gifts and share a moment together. We take family pictures by our tree and just feel the warmth and happiness of their company. They are friends who are family and that will never change. 

This year was different thanks to 2020 but it didn’t change our tradition. Our friends made it happen again. Thankfully the weather held up and we were able to meet outside with masks and distance. We stayed safe and just had our special time. The kids played together and laughed. I stared out at them and couldn’t believe how big they all are now. How small they were when it all started. Their daughter wasn’t born yet but their younger son was always with us. Now their son has grown and their daughter took his place in our tradition.I still have the first gift that our friends brought for the kids. Two little picture Christmas Stocking ornaments. One pink one and one blue. To this day they hang proudly on our tree with a picture of Giovanni and Isannah in each one.

Traditions mean the world to me. I hope Giovanni and Isannah will feel the same and keep every memory in their heart so that they will carry these traditions as they grow each year. 

We all have different beliefs but traditions are what you make them to be.  

Create them, old or new, carry them and keep them going and growing.

Eve of Christmas 2020

On this Eve of Christmas, my mind drifts to family gatherings of years past, and my chest feels heavy. Remembering all the hugs we were able to receive and give. The laughs that filled the houses we visited. And the laughter of generations of family members all under the same roof. We could see the many expressions on their face. Faces that I have been missing. All these moments that turned into memories blurred my vision of what was directly in front of me today.

This year we took a hit, some more than others, but a hit was felt all around. The sadness and fear leading up to the holidays could make your body tremble. Knowing that people would be missing at the table. Less noise and laughter, fewer generations under one roof, made my chest close and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to take a moment to step away from my memories and be present. Yes, the holidays have felt a little lighter and leading up to today, Christmas Eve a little scarier, but we are still here. We are healthy and safe. Things won’t be the same but are they really ever exactly the same? We do the best with what we have every year because that is life. We want to bring family together for our children. We want them to experience all the magic of life and the holidays. We do our best to make things seem better than what they are at times.

Although our group was smaller than before, it was perfect. Being able to see Giovanni and Isannah sing, dance and laugh because of their Nonni is priceless. The way the kids light up when Nonna comes through the door is what the holidays are all about. This year we may be lighter but our home felt full. We are here. We are healthy and we are safe. There’s so much to be thankful for, and family is the most important of them all.

Wishing you and your family a magical Christmas. Hoping you can find the blessings that surround you and allow love to fill your heart.