Monday, October 8, 2007

Traveling & Traditions

For me, holidays are synonymous with travel. It’s not unique. It’s a common-known phenomenon—highways congested, airports overloaded.

It’s my own fault. I’m the one who left home. For school, for work, for love. Because home felt elsewhere. Or because home didn’t feel like home. At different points, different places. I guess I shouldn’t complain, I brought it on myself.

Packing up clothes and packages, newspaper clippings I’d been meaning to send to my father, gifts and toiletries, that shirt I borrowed from my sister, it’s slow-going getting ready. Slower going loading the car. But luckily for me I live where most people go. For instance, this weekend, Columbus Day weekend, most people are heading to see the foliage. We are heading south on the highway, for the most part avoiding traffic, for a quick dinner with my father, my nephew’s football game, a visit with .

We used to stay with my sister, but three now, we have overgrown our welcome. Not that she wouldn’t let us stay, we’ve done it before. Her family upstairs, ours in the basement with the air bed and the pack-n-play. Now though, with Georgia growing, the need for routine and time away from stimulation is obvious. Last night alone after a day of visiting, at dinner, she got so slap happy I knew it was only matter of time before her giggles and smiles turned south into frowns and wails. But, blaming the baby entirely would be unfair, our need for a restful night’s sleep is palpable.

So here we sit, and here I write this. From a hotel room. Our day stretching full and loaded before us. Our luggage—multiplied 175 times now with baby—strewn around us. And I wonder: Could we do this if we had another baby? We’ve already decided that Thanksgiving will be too much this year. We have opted instead, to cook our own Turkey—our first one!!—and invite family up north. Not all of them will come, stuck in their own traditions. And so we start our own…

I am beginning to understand how families break off into smaller pods. As families expand, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Forth of July evolve. I don’t take it lightly, these are the days my child will remember. These are the bonds that will mean the most. We are a family in transition. Traveling. Trying out new traditions.

(Check out my 31 for 21 blog challenge for Down syndrome awareness at my regular blog.)


Whirlwind said...

Husband and I vowed this year to stay home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pasrt of it motivated by the fact that this will be his first one since the kids were born that he's not working and the other part by being tired of running around. Both families live in the area, but I'd like the kids to relax, open their gifts and be able to play with them instead of opening them and leaving them. Four years ago, we started celebrating Christmas a few days before with my family (being six of us, it was getting harder to all be at mom's at the same time on Christmas Day). This year, we once again hold the shin-dig.

Mrs Big Dubya said...

We too live away from our families..... I think you'll find that as your 'lil one grows, you become more efficient in your packing. You realize that you don't need an enitre case of diapers and a dozen extra outfits..... that a toy or two will suffice.... the rest of the toybox can stay at home.

Baby #2 just means a second size of diaper and some additional outfits -- believe it or not, it doesn't add as much as you might have thought.

Although chasing two around an unbabyproofed house full of Hummels and other breakables can feel like 100X the work.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

My husband had a screwed up childhood and vowed that, once he had kids, Christmas would be celebrated at our house---no running around. That is fine with me b/c it is also what I am used to. But, I do like throwing in new traditions as well; it keeps things fun.

sandy shoes said...

You can always buy diapers at your destination too. Gives you an excuse to get the heck outta the in-laws' house ;).

We quit visiting the in-laws (in California!) for Christmas after the girls weren't babies any more, because once they were mobile, it was way more stress than fun.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

My husband and I took our 4 kids and my Mom to visit my brother and his family (his 2 kids are younger than ours) in Baltimore at least twice a year for oh... 12 years. These visits included years when all of the kids were babies... through nursing and potty training. You name it.

Then one year my Mom was too sick to travel and my brother told me that he and my sister-in-law certainly could not travel to New England with two kids (way past diapers). I mean, what did I expect?

That was it for me. I'm sorry to say that weddings and funerals are now "visits."

But my husband and I have carved wonderful traditions with our kids that are now being enjoyed by our seven grandchildren.

Family just means different things to different people.

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

Rock the Cradle said...

I'm undoubtedly going to become very preoccupied with creating our own family traditions as our own lives here in MA draw to a close.

I have to admit to being excited at the prospect. New recipes to try for Thanksgiving and Christmas...maybe even a Twelfth Night feast?

Distance, desperation and new surroundings definitely breed creativity.