For the majority of our life together, we have lived far from family (550-4500 miles), so holidays have often looked a bit different, the big gatherings taking place in our hearts, but not at our dining table.
I am not going to tell you this is easy, it’s not.
We miss our loved ones and the chaos/fun that comes with a packed house full of siblings-cousins-aunts-uncles-grandparents.
Sonetimes it’s a pinch of salt in a wound I thought long healed when friends tell me their plans to get together with family, when my siblings text me the menu, when my mom calls to tell me that my sister-in-law came over to help her clean. I want to be the one whose kids are going to grandma’s! I want to take a day off to dust the bookshelves, wash the china, polish the silver.
But there is joy. Over the years we have created our own, special, a little offbeat celebrations.
At Thanksgiving we have frequently chosen to order our meal fully prepared from a top notch restaurant. (I cook all the time, seriously, this is a gift to myself). We spend the day playing games and take time to talk about the countless things for which we are thankful.
On Christmas Eve we have a humble meal of soup in homemade bread bowls. We attend a late service, and then open, what has become as our children grow older, fewer and fewer gifts, instead taking time to reflect on the incredible blessings we take for granted. The last 2 Christmas eves being especially sweet, celebrating our Savior’s birth and Broder’s health (his cancer surgery taking place on December 23, 2013).
Christmas Day finds us sleeping in, playing games, eating a ridiculous and elaborate meal, taking a walk to make room for pie/cake/cookies/lefse, and then snuggling in to watch a movie or 3 on the insanely big TV Dave somehow convinced me was a “good deal”. (I was very opposed, being a good pietist, the pleasures of this world often cause me great consternation).
Birthdays are a non-thing. If lucky, we remember to get cards. And sometime during the weeks surrounding the actual birth date, if we slow down long enough, I will make a cake. Which we eat for breakfast. As it should be.
And then there is Easter. Arguably, as a Christian, the most important day we can observe.
So we celebrate. We attend a service. Preferably the most traditional we can find. Liturgy. The telling of the Easter story. Singing the hymns that give me goosebumps. Rejoicing in the gift of our salvation.
And then we come home and eat a traditional Easter dinner.
Of potstickers, fried rice, spring rolls, eggs rolls, fried wontons and cabbage salad.