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friday, december 26, 2008

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i realized last night that i am ready to pass on the tradition of the holiday dinner to one of the girls. it can't be done yet since neither of the older ones are in a place where they can do it, and i really should wait until the youngest is out on her own, but, yea, i'm definitely ready.

it's not that the tradition is bad. it's not. i actually love the cooking and setting the table. but it is exhausting. and with my overheating issues, it can apparently make me sick. i ended up eating very little because my head hurt and my tummy was very upset. i thought maybe it was the stress of having so many people over, but once i opened a window and cooled off, i felt much better. but the incident really helped me see the day when i won't be able to do it all for whatever reason, whether it's because i get ill from being too hot or because i don't have the strength or energy any more.

and that day will come. the kids don't want to admit it, but i am getting older. the issues this year made all the usual getting older stuff that much harder. i think i can recover to a point, but i'm definitely not young and definitely can't get the body back to being young. some of my health problems are going to be here to stay no matter what i do. and old age does end up catching up to even the healthiest people, so the day will come when it's time to hand over the dinner traditions to one of the girls. or both. or, maybe, eventually all three.

at least we have traditions to hand over. my family was never really all that close, so the only traditions i remember are opening gifts on christmas morning. there was one year when we were in cali and went to grandma's for christmas, but it wasn't a tradition. as i got older, and my parents divorced, and the rest of the family became more fractured, and my mother's illness advanced to the point where she could barely remember to pay rent, all hopes of a family tradition died. i was raised in a broken family, with members scattered across the country and little contact between them. this is not what i wanted for my kids.

so from the time they were young, i really thought through the traditions i wanted to pass on. thus the family christ-mas tree as an expression of our thankfulness on thanksgiving and giving the ex the kids on christmas eve so i could have my christmas day and the time to build the traditions we all now cherish. and i'm pleased that they've stuck with the girls. they want their ornaments on our tree. they want to be here for christmas day, despite the bickering and everything else.

but as they've gotten older and more people have been added through various means (the move added linnorm to the list; best friends, fiancés, marriages, and chillier have added others), it's become more exhausting. and i won't even go into the number of dishes that get piled up.

so, i'm ready to pass things along, but i'm also willing to wait for now. froggy should get to enjoy all of her child and teen years with these traditions, just like her sisters did. but i might start parceling some of the work out -- have one person bring the corn and green beans and someone else bring the yams. or whatever. even a little bit would help and make my kitchen a little less crazy. maybe doing that will help them start to get ready for the traditions to move on one day as well.

and, who knows, maybe this readiness is all a result of how trying this year has been and how much i need to work on recovering what i lost in terms of my health, and i'm sure getting sick last night didn't help. and we've figured out a few things to help next year: keep people out of the kitchen for one (i'm not sure why everyone decided hovering in a small, hot kitchen was a good idea, but i finally had to tell kitten to order everyone into the living room) and picking me up a lightweight dress that's still kind of dressy but without the layers my clothes had this year. still, it might be time to have the girls start helping with the cooking more so they can get ready too. it maybe a few years, yet, but one day soon they will have the pleasure of arguing about who takes on the holiday dinner next.


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