Only time will tell if we can bring our crazy, hyperextended family together...BETTER! Come share our laughs and struggles as we test tips, tricks, and tools-of-the-trade in our quest for a more fabulous family life.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Family Meeting #5--Traditions

“Well, I think a tradition we have in our family is to color our hair,” said my youngest son at our latest family meeting.  The kids started to giggle and I don’t think I helped matters any when my jaw dropped open.  Luckily, my son (J.J.) giggled, too. 
            “What do you mean that we color our hair?” I said, innocently, blushingly even, but well knowing that yes, I do put highlights in my hair—just a little.
            “Well, like in the summer.  Our hair gets lighter and now Dad had some white hairs (to which my husband’s jaw dropped amid more laughter) and so I think that’s something that is a tradition in our family,” he explained. 
            “Well, that is something that does happen to our family’s hair, that’s true,” I said.
            My oldest son (Jay) interrupted, “Mom, just don’t even speak.  You sound like Marge Simpson.”
            “I sound like Marge Simpson?” I said.  “Like from “The Simpsons” TV show?” More laughter. 
            “Yes, I’ve been thinking that all day and I’ve been waiting to say it,” he said. 
            “Definitely Marge Simpson,” said my second son (C.K.).  All I can do is smile and laugh at myself, too. 
Our meetings were first sidetracked by the Thanksgiving holiday and then by two of my kids getting sick with this coughing/fever thing (let’s face it—it’s either a coughing/fever thing OR the throw-up/diarrhea thing:  both “old hat” by now around our house and not worth mentioning, though I prefer the coughing/fever thing to the latter…anyhow…).  The sidetrack is not only did I get the coughing/fever thing, but it turned into pneumonia.  I’ve never had pneumonia and as the old southern saying goes, “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.

  I’d always warned my family that this could happen, that I could be out of commission and not able to keep the cogs rolling in our “family machine”, but did they listen?  So, they’ve been valiantly struggling to figure things out for themselves and pitching in, but they’ve been grumpy, flustered, and well… messier than usual—not a good combination as we prepare for the December holidays, but what can a person do?  Luckily, I finally got some good medicine in me and I’m on the mend.  I can see they are breathing sighs of relief…though I’m not real sure if it’s due to my job of managing the home or actual concerns about my health…! 
So our meeting this time around was a quick one.  We discussed what has been working so far.  The positive versus negative verbal and body language cues are working, we decided.  Everyone seems to be trying to focus on the positive and remind others when they are falling into negative territory.  The “star charts” are working, although we do sometimes put in the stars every two or three days rather than every day.  My youngest son and my daughter, Liza, seems to remember to actually get them out themselves and bring them to me when I am getting wrapped up in the evening activities.  Conflict resolution was first introduced right before we all got side-tracked and that seems to have fallen.  So we are going to start right back at that.  Then, we got onto our ideas about creating family traditions, especially prevalent for this time of year.  I didn’t realize it, but family traditions can help create family identity, family bonding,—as long as they are flexible enough to be changed when they aren’t working for the family.  So what perfect time to discuss what traditions we naturally do, and what we’d like to keep or change, than the December holidays. 
“Well, I like how we all put our own ornaments on the tree,” said my daughter. 
“And I like how we have advent calendars,” said my youngest son. 
“I like how everyone comes over for dinner,” said they older boys.  Yes, this is my favorite tradition, too; one that my husband I created with our future in mind.  It’s something we want to have as our family ages—the gathering of friends and family—really the most enjoyable gift of the holiday season, even if this family member says something or that family member does something unpleasant (and yes, it will happen—we’re all just people and we’re all not perfect), as a whole, the gathering is what makes the holiday and it’s the memories from those gatherings each year that stick with us way more than any present.  Usually, I spend the entire month getting ready, buying food with coupons, cooking, baking, cleaning; I consider it my humongous present to my family.  But now, with pneumonia, I am several weeks behind.  I try to figure out how to make this still happen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment