An unintended residual side effect of our decision to move away and relocate to the Lowcountry has been the loss of cherished family traditions and rituals. This loss is never more evident and acute than during the Christmas holidays. Special meals with family and friends, the annual Christmas Eve Day shopping event with our children and grandchildren, tree trimming and gift wrapping and the Christmas Day festivities (including my husband’s Christmas Day birthday celebration) at our beautiful Victorian family homestead, Well House Manor, have been replaced with uncertainty each year about family plans and who will visit whom. Changing family dynamics, the distance and the cost associated to fly or drive have contributed to this annual angst. The result has been an eroding family connection, leaving our family with a “memory bank” absent recent holiday memories.
I bear responsibility. In the early years of our relocation I was not inclined to make plans to head north to visit family during the holiday season. I hung to my beliefs that kids should visit the elders. This was the way it worked for my mom and dad and how I expected it to work now that we had moved away. Also, as families are prone to experience stress during the holidays I wanted to maintain a safe distance. So much for hanging on to old beliefs and living in creative avoidance! Maintaining the status quo will definitely ensure that we spend future holidays and my husband’s birthday together, yet alone. Also, as we become more “senior” I am increasingly aware of the limited time that is left to make positive deposits into the “memory bank” that imprints a history of Poppy and Grandma into our children and their children’s lives.
So this year as the holidays rounded the corner talk of “are you coming to visit?” began during a recent conversation with our daughter. I found myself hemming and hawing, again. I was saved from myself and the possibility of yet another “together, yet alone” Christmas when my husband answered quickly and without reservation “yes, we are!” After a very brief “what the h…. is he saying!” I was thankful and relived for his decisiveness. His action is a reminder to me that a Felicity Life is guided by intention to create joy. He was doing just that for himself and our daughter and for me! This was confirmed this evening when our daughter called and thanked us for deciding to be there for Christmas. She is making plans for new traditions and I look forward to new and joyful deposits into the “memory bank”!