Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Remembering Season

How are your preparations coming along?  I don't even have to specify what preparations I'm talking about - you know I mean holiday preparations. Are you having any fun making them? I'm just checking because it is so easy to miss the fun - and, to quote a song from an old movie "but it's the laughter, we will remember, whenever we remember, the way we were." This is the season of remembering.

I was at my sister's home for Thanksgiving and all the nieces and nephews were there and we made lefse. Now making lefse is a special holiday tradition for people whose forebears came from Norway.  It's a labor intensive undertaking that yields what are essentially very thin potato tortillas. It is manna to some of us, tradition for others, and love, even to those who don't especially like it. My grandmothers and great-grandmothers (well 3 of them anyway) made lefse, and my mother is passing on the tradition to the next generation. It's messy and time-consuming and involves a lot of work and, especially when there are beginners, laughter. For the cousins, seven of them, and one recently added spouse, it was a great way to be together. They haven't grown up near each other so gatherings can be a bit awkward. Tackling this project was a way to pool their talents and splash around in the laughter. They will remember this day.

The next day, some of us filled up a couple of cars and visited the farms where my parents grew up. And we visited the churches and the graves. We felt sadness as we missed those no longer with us - but joy at all the wonderful memories. I have to say, on the whole, that it was fun to ramble through the memories. And new memories were being generated even as we waded through the old ones:  the startling sight of a llama among the sheep, the fight over the check at the restaurant, the wind, the Starbucks. There will be laughter from this day to remember as well.

This is the remembering season. Take time to share your memories with your kids and to make some new ones. Play some cards, sing some songs, and visit some relatives. Your kids won't remember most of the gifts they get this Christmas, but they will remember your stories and traditions and what made them laugh.  Find the time, and the laughter – it will add joy to your season.

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