: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
I'm big on tradition. You don't grow up on a farm that's been in your family for over 100 years and not learn a little something about heritage. But my appreciation for tradition is greatly attributed to my mother. She did not grow up on the farm, so I suppose her East Coast, Bostonian heritage is what helped shape her view of valuing the intangibles in life.
We had lots of traditions growing up, many of which I hope to carry on into the Pardy family. And some traditions morph with the times and convenience of our culture today. For instance, I believe it would be greatly frowned upon today if Josh and I just went out hunting for the perfect Christmas tree and then just chopped it down wherever we found it - like my dad and I used to do in the middle of Kansas!
I remember trudging through the ditches of snow, inevitably choosing the one tree that would most certainly not fit into our living room. Nevertheless, my daddy would chop that tree down and we would end up chopping and chopping until it was at least able to fit through the doorway. One year in particular I remember having to put the tree in our foyer, as it was simply too tall for anywhere else in the house (a-la-"Christmas Vacation"-Chevy-Chase-style). Grand.
And other traditions have been customized to fit my liking. For example, my family always made "Porkies" on special occasions. That's right, Porkies. The recipe is top secret, so don't bother asking, but I can tell you that they are a sweet meat mixture molded into giant meat balls and then baked. (Or, as my brother so politely would refer to them growing up "They look like a tray of broiled gophers, belly up".)
Anyhow, they are delicious, and we always looked forward to going to my Grammy's to partake of the Porkies. Now, in the Pardy home, we have adopted the Porky as the official Christmas meat. So, we will once again be having a very Merry Porky Christmas.
And yet, some traditions are just perfect they way they are. Watching the George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol" together as a family. Opening Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve. Listening to the Nativity Story and saying what we are thankful for. Baking, baking, and more baking followed by eating, eating, and more eating! The list goes on.
I love tradition because it helps give me a sense of belonging. "I know what this family is about"..."this is what we do"..."you are part of something special", year after year after year. It isn't about having a "right way" of doing things, not at all. It's about appreciating the people and places and the times that have helped established you exactly where you are today. When I hang an ornament on the Christmas tree that was Matilda's great-grandmother's, it amazes me to think about the journey that little ornament has taken - how my Grandmother celebrated Christmas when she was a little girl, and how that history still trickles down and shapes me even today.
It's easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle, the commercialism and Santa Clausism of Christmas. But, when I unwrap the pieces of the Nativity Scene and remember back how that was my very favorite tradition as a little girl, setting up the Nativity in our living room, I instantly am taken back to a nostalgic time where Christmas was filled with awe.
I hope that I can instill in Matilda an appreciation for the little things that our family does year after year, just as my mother did for me. I hope she will take pride in taking them on and making them her own. Until then, I'm so privileged to get to be the mommy that can hand down little pieces of our family history...one porky at a time. :)