amusing diversions take2

Sunday, October 17, 2004

theme 7

At seven o’clock this evening there was a scramble to find out where my father was. There was a football game on and we eventually found him tucked into my Aunt Vanessa’s basement staring raptly at the plasma screen television. Mom asked when he was coming home, and he begged to be given a few more minutes to see the end of the game. Mom said that would be fine but that he would have to hurry down to Hamden afterwards. Sunday night is Pat’s Pizza night at my house, come hell, high water, or football games.
There are about a billion family traditions one must observe after becoming part of my family. Every Christmas, for example, I attend four separate family gatherings, without counting the one with my husband’s family. These gatherings are at the same time every year and woe to the person who is late attending. Christmas Eve is reserved for the women of the family to make cinnamon rolls. The day after Christmas is also reserved, for a large en masse shopping trip. Every holiday has a designated place of celebration as well as required foods. Lobster at the Fourth, Broccoli casserole at Thanksgiving, cinnamon rolls for Christmas and a specific cake for every birthday.
There are other more intimate traditions, more along the line of Pat’s Pizza Sunday. Like group apple picking every fall, even though all of the apples never get used and we have to throw them away by the end of the winter. The weekly fight over groceries is also a common ritual. Mom likes to forget to grocery shop. Or, she likes to buy odd groceries that don’t get eaten. So, I make her a list every week of the things the house needs. She then manages to forget or lose it (usually on purpose) when it’s time for her to go to the store. This creates a small scuffle, ending with my going with her to the store. Could she just say that she wanted me to go with her? Of course, but it wouldn’t be nearly so much fun for either of us.
Family traditions and more common everyday rituals are the glue that hold us together. My family is the most important thing in my life. They are my source of strength and contentment. Each little habit can become integral to knowing you are deep within the bosom of peace. Indeed, I noted to my brother the other day, who was trying to explain the fact that he was angry, that only someone in my family would have gone about explaining in quite the same fashion. He used nine different synonyms for anger during his explanation. If that isn’t a direct hold-over from mom’s days of vocabulary improvement I don’t know what is. The rhythms of family life are what make blood thicker than water.


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