|May Baskets, 2011|
I was reading a very good former foster kid blog recently and the author spoke of one of the many losses she faces--that of shared traditions. She has no memories of specific holiday happenings, special foods, or music or, well anything. And of course, she is now an adult and can and I am sure will, make traditions of her own.
But it has to be harder starting from a totally blank slate. People who read my blog know that I celebrate everything. I think life needs to be celebrated and that by making lots of little things special in life, we have those good memories that help us walk through the darker times that inevitably happen. The funny thing is though, that I don't recall my family being nearly as into holidays and celebrating as I have always been. I was the one in the family who came up with an idea to create a "Christmas workshop" every Saturday in Advent for my sister and our friends. We got together and made crafts every Saturday in December for years. Since I was 9 I think when I came up with this our initial efforts were a bit feeble. But they improved over time. And as I think on this more, I think the first year we did it was the year my mom was in the hospital over Christmas and my grandmother was dying of cancer. To add to the mix, we lived in a new town and had not had time to really get to know anyone. Somehow, I knew that we needed those times and so 4 of us (my sister and the 2 kids we had managed to meet) formed the initial Christmas cadre.
As an adult, most of my family's traditions don't resemble anything I really grew up with. For instance, my mom was pretty rigid about what week in December the deorations went up. In my house, I am happy to let Yule explode all over the place right after Thanksgiviing. LOL
And there are things we celebrate that the family of my childhood didn't. Groundhog Day, Earth Day, St. Patricks Day, Derby Day . . .But there is one holiday that I celebrate that is directly tied to my past and done almost exactly as it was done when I was a child. And that is May baskets.
I don't make as many as my grandmother did, but I do make them the way she taught me when I was younger than KC and a bit older than Lissa. We fill them with candy or cookies or flowers. One is mailed to my mom who lives in another state and would be shattered not to receive one. Others go to elder neighbors who smile with delight when they find the suprise on their step. Another goes to a friend who also has a birthday on the first of May.
This year I have felt a bit under the gun with the May baskets. I leave in a day for a multi day course for my job and before I did that I needed to finish the piece work job here at home that we do nights to supplement my "real" job. But somehow the stars aligned, the job was completed and the baskets were made. And a tradition continues.