Cambrian: Opinion

The seasonal tug of tradition and intuition

Well, if you’re reading this, the world didn’t end. Welcome back! I’m glad for so many reasons it didn’t end. One of which, I was really late getting my Christmas decorations up and I still want to be able to enjoy them a little longer!

I kinda fibbed last week when I said LOML didn’t mind all the holiday hoopla. He doesn’t but was working too hard to egg me on in my décor endeavor. But something, some deeply seated twinge, I don’t know how to describe it, did kick in with 10 days to spare ’til Christmas.

I dragged the ornament boxes out of the attic and put them in the “tripping zone” of the living room so I couldn’t avoid them. Over a couple of days I brought out knick knacks and paddiwacks and carefully arranged them in their “proper” order.

I’ve never been into the baking except when the boys were very little (living with the postman all those years, receiving plates of sweets from all his postal patrons negated the need to make our own!) so I don’t worry about jumping into that mode. Shopping, not so much any more.

But the house has been a wreck lately — I’ve been oddly unmotivated to change that — and there I was suddenly all fired up to wash dishes, dust AND polish, even in the living room. I was contemplating what we might actually do for the big day, where we might go, should we invite folks over, etc. Still a little vague .…

So, there I was with my hands in hot soapy water, it’s not long after noon and the front door opens. “Ed’s home early,” I though. I peek around the corner through the dining room and there’s this tall, handsome man stepping inside. Son Zachary had gotten home early.

The sudden nesting, the house-primping, the concern that has gathered steam this time of year for the last 26 years all burst into light as I took my son in my arms and hugged him home. Boy, that momma bear-radar seems to have a pretty strong battery in it still. Of course, this is why I had the urge to follow my traditions.

Like the geese, the monarch butterflies and the gray whales all migrating home, they have their tradition. Granted, it is a life-preserving move they make, to warmer, fertile grounds — but isn’t that what it’s like on some level for us: coming home to a home-cooked meal (OK, we had pizza the first night), to see the odd little holiday figures on the mantel that remind you of when you were little and so excited about “the big day,” and just being home, someplace you know you are loved and cared for no matter what?

I know that concept doesn’t exist for some people and I’m so sorry for that. Tradition has its place. Look at churches and schools and other public institutions. Traditions make you feel a part of something, offer some familiarity in this crazy world, give you some little thing to be grounded in.

I had my traditions I grew up with and I did my best to create my own for myself and my kids and that instinct was just too strong to deny, even though my boys are grown and gone. It’s just evolving .…

I hope whatever small or large tradition you have created or got to partake in this time of year, it brought you great joy, happiness and peace and may that feeling last throughout the year!

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune