Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving traditions...

Everyone has Thanksgiving traditions, though they vary from family to family.  Whether it’s a Greenberg turkey, cornbread dressing with gravy, cranberry sauce, Sister Shubert rolls, along with pecan and apple pies, or maybe it’s a roasted turkey filled with stuffing and basted for hours filling the house with delicious aromas.  Traditions are handed down from generation to generation.  Every once in awhile something jolts tradition and the day takes on a different feel, perhaps the beginning of a new tradition forms, these traditions never are intentional, they just seem to take on a life of their own over the years.

This year most of our family was able to come together for Thanksgiving.  We missed David and his family, but included at our table were Evelyn (Steve’s mom), Lynn and her family, Brent, Brooke and her family and an added plus my sister, Cynthia came in from Houston.  It was a bittersweet day and we all had our moments when thoughts of Steve, reminders of his absence caused us to hug one another a little tighter, and wipe a tear or fill a handkerchief full of tears throughout the day.

Nevertheless, the day was a good one.  We were all together and we laughed and ate and played our way through the day.  Our blended family has become one and we all know that the center of our love is due in large part to Steve Boswell.

One of our strange family traditions was when the kids all came home, Steve and I made the most of this opportunity.  We called the troops together and everyone rallied in the attic to bring down the outside Christmas decorations.  Steve had his system and the garland was hung perfectly in carefully measured intervals of tied twine that hung from the rafters.  It was a simple dismantle and a 3-person Chinese dragon parade type of maneuver down the stairs and to the front porch.  The outdoor pre-lit wreath came next, all items carefully marked with existing permanent nails, requiring the smallest amount of effort in placing each object.  These Steve-ish details were perfected over the years, as putting up Christmas was one of his least favorite activities.  Last came the miniature pre-lit Christmas trees that border our sidewalk.  Within a matter on 30 minutes, voila we had a Griswold Christmas!

As I have written in earlier blogs, I have been busy packing and cleaning.  The attic was one of my first tackles.  Now that all the Christmas decorations were out (remember, Steve always accused me of taking up at least half of our attic with my Christmas stuff) the attic was suddenly empty.  I was the last one to leave this space after everyone had grabbed and gone, and as I stood in this large vacant space I once again stopped in my tracks.

This room, that had once held all the things of our life and our children’s lives.  Things that were not essential, but too special to throw away had been stripped clean and this upper room no longer showed any signs of life.  All that was left were some deserted shelves, castoff boxes, discarded bags and hooks and nails with no purpose.  As I stood in this cavernous space it echoed emptiness.  I saw amidst the dusty floor, dustless squares where boxes had once lived...the clutter was gone.  Old balls, lamp shades, sheet-covered chairs...removed.  For a brief moment, I felt like I was looking in a mirror at my life.  Once so full, now feeling stripped clean, castoff, discarded, purposeless and where those dustless signs of boxes once were, I too had my empty holes, the full days of my life with Steve, now only a shadow of what was.  My tears came, the realization that I was coming close to the end of this chapter in my life stuck in my throat and punched me in the stomach.  

These feelings were only momentary, for as quickly as they washed over me I heard sounds beneath my feet.  Sounds of laughter and yelling for my instruction, sounds of my grand children's feet running up and down the stairs and playing out in the yard.  I smiled and quietly whispered to Steve that I missed him so very much. I shut the attic door and went to spend a wonderful day with a family that I love dearly.

Steve always said holidays were no different from any other day.  The only thing that made a holiday special was it was the time that we could spend together.  Steve was right,  this Thanksgiving was special, we were together...a family that loves and cares for one another and that is a tradition that will remain with us forever.

Uncle Brent with Elena, Harper & Harris/ Aunt Cynthia & Harper/ Harper, Elena & Harris/
Everyone Loves Brent & Harper being 3

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”