by Maureen Lawrence, ECM Outreach Coordinator
Growing up in a large family, I was born into a world filled with family traditions. From Sunday morning mass to every major holiday, there was a sense of routine and familiarity. Easter morning was brunch at my Grandparent’s ranch with a massive table of rotating guests for over four hours, while Thanksgiving was a feast for seventy-five at a rented Lion’s Hall. When I entered my twenties and these grand, familiar traditions started to change, I resisted the transition and mourned the loss of what these holidays had always been. I couldn’t fathom a Christmas Eve without a drive down Christmas Tree Lane in my grandparent’s neighborhood or Easter morning without the laundry-sized Easter basket, filled to the brim by my loving “Grams”. It was upon having my own children that I finally realized these changes were not something to grieve. Rather, an opportunity for me to embrace the traditions and memories I cherished most growing up, combine them with my husband’s traditions, and morph them into unique and meaningful traditions of our very own. Hosting the Thanksgiving feast accompanied by our “Thankful” table decor, Bake Day with family creating gifts of cookie plates, the handmade stockings hanging over the mantle, these traditions filled with my family memories will now be embraced by my children for many years to come. Eventually, they too will be morphed into new traditions. Family traditions do not need to be rigid, brittle things, but rather can be constantly altered to honor the memories of those no longer with us and to encompass the aspects you most cherish.