May 24, 2011

Remember the Fiddler on the Roof song, “Traditions”?  What family traditions do you follow and are they uniquely yours, long time family, religious or acquired?

Recently I was speaking with a friend who was hoping that she was not going to get together for her birthday with her sister. I was surprised because I know she and her sister are very close. What I did not know is the tradition the sisters have since they were kids to celebrate their birthdays by going out to dinner at the same restaurant and ordering the same food every year. Year after year the restaurant is Denny’s!

Evidently her sister like many people who hold on to traditions fiercely, feel you can not deviate at all from the tradition. When my friend was growing up, Denny’s was close to their home and an acceptable place for kids to go alone. The traditional dinner menu, chicken fried steak! Now there are really good restaurants they can go to since they drive and order many things off a menu besides the fried mystery meat entre, but is that keeping with tradition?

Some people I know earnestly strive to set traditions for their families and their children. Just because you get together with someone for New Years Day does not mean it is a yearly occurrence, or is it? What if they think it is a tradition and you are breaking from it if you decline the invitation?

Some traditions are wonderful and stand the test of time. Many families just starting out yearn to make their own traditions. Over the years many families and individuals start new traditions and drop some of the old ones.  Holidays, vacations, family reunions are all laced with traditions. Are you embraced with traditions or saddled?

Jackie Kennedy Onassis set a tradition for her children to write in their own handwriting a poem and read it to her as a special gift. Caroline Kennedy continued the tradition with her children. A lovely way to get children acquainted with poetry. What a lovely way to keep a tradition going as the children mature. What Caroline doesn’t mention is who prompted the continuation of the tradition. There has to be a person that initiates and enforces a tradition otherwise, we all get a bit lazy. Are you the tradition maker, enforcer or recipient?


The Menopausal Woman and Family Reunions and Class Reunions After a Few Decades
August 10, 2009

Summer brings reunions for many people. That happy time when folks you haven’t seen in decades converge together.

Spend vacation time at a family reunion that often is in country, meaning usually not at a resort, a beach, or even close to a major airport. What about the class reunion picnic on a hot August afternoon? Mustering up good cheer for an entire week-end can be taxing.

A typical conversation at a family reunion:

            You:     Hello Aunt Mitty, Nice to see you again. I am Bob’s Wife.

            AM:     Bill’s boy Bobbie?

            You:    Yes, that’s right. You are looking well.

            AM:     It’s nice to meet you. You are so much prettier than Bobbie’s first wife.

            You:     I am Bob’s first wife. It has been over 25 years since I have seen you.

            AM:     Bobbie’s wife had red hair and was really fat.

            You:    Well I was 7 months pregnant with twins.

            AM:     Twins? There are no twins in our family. Where are those twins?

            You:    They are 25 and working and couldn’t take time off.

            AM:     Bobbie’s first wife was really mean; she would have made those kids come to a family reunion.

            You:    You’re right. Oh look there is Bobbie!FamilyReunion

A High School reunion has its own set of issues. First is the dress. Finding a dress that looks fantastic is quite an achievement regardless if it is your own reunion or your spouse or partners’.

Most reactions from people who go to reunions say that at the 20th the women look great and the men look very different from High School. At the 30th the men are starting to look OK and the women are not. What happened? Menopause! At the 40th, good thing name tags are required for everyone. Some participants will cut out the picture from their High School Yearbook on their name tag. Not such a bad idea. Another good idea is to go with a friend that you have kept up with since High School.

Here is a typical conversation at Your own High School Reunion:

You:   Oh My God!!! Chrissy Brown!! I’d recognize you anywhere!!! So glad to see you! You look fantastic!!!! Ahhhh, you haven’t changed much at all!!!

CB:    Ummm, Hi. I’m Sorry; I don’t know who you are. Where is your name tag?

You:   It’s me, LeeLee. (notice no recognition). LeeLee Bowing. (You start pounding your chest), You always sat behind me in classes when in alphabetical order and home room!

CB:    Oh Yes, LeeLee. I go by ‘Christine’.

You:   (noticing she does not seem very thrilled to see you after all these years) Where do you live? What have you been doing for the last several decades? Wow do you remember homeroom teacher Mrs. Foley!

CB:    Oh look the line is short for the bar, later!

You:   (I never really liked her.)