December 10, 2012

Sugar Cookies and Champagne.

Posted in Life Lessons, Parenthood, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:06 pm by openendedcomment

This is the first Christmas in forty-four years of life my husband will not spend the holiday with his family.  Every Christmas morning of every year he went to his Grandmother’s home.  It is always difficult when traditions change, when childhood, no matter our age, takes its final bow in the known and predictable ways and places of our lives.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Birthdays…for each of us there is that one thing, that one person or activity that we always do or always see because we have always done so.  For him, it was Christmas at Grandma Jane’s.   Cousins everywhere and platters upon platters of sugar cookies so thin you can almost see right through them.   It was thirty-plus people in their Sunday best (because when your Grandmother tells you to dress up, you do), it was coffee and champagne by the case,  catching up on who is having yet another child (Irish Catholic family, someone is always pregnant) and an annual time of  simple togetherness.  It was his connection to a man he loved dearly and knew for far too short of a time,  the Father he lost at twelve years old.  These past few years they and it meant even more.  It and she has been the family he felt he would always have, through these difficult past two years they were the people who he knew would never leave him.  His Grandmother is still with us, but for the first time she’s not up for the Florida to Minnesota trip.  As it is also the first Christmas since his Mother passed this makes it an especially difficult year and despite mine and the children’s best efforts, we can’t seem to get him in the spirit.  I suppose it is like this for all of us at one time or another.  I remember when my Grandmother on my Father’s side passed…Chrstmas with my Nana had always meant Norwegian pastries, Lefse, Herring and the Lutefisk my Poppi would drown in butter.  It meant the Moe family and singing and laughter and seeing a side of my Dad that was reserved for Grand Forks, a softer and more relaxed, quicker to laugh version of himself…something I wonder if even he realized.  It has been over fifteen years since my last Christmas in North Dakota and almost a decade since I saw the Moe family.  I make the krumkake and flatbread, the english toffee and the divinity for my family now…there is song and laughter…though I’ll happily admit that the lutefisk is not a part of the tradition I carried on.  I do this to honor the family I miss, to give my children a grasp of their heritage and a piece no matter how small, of the Christmas’ I knew as a child.  I do it to give my Dad a taste of the home he was raised in.  This year I will do this for my husband, too.  I may not be able to provide the cousins, but I can make the cookies.  If I am lucky, having our little family around him will provide the security and steadfast comfort he needs.  In time our own family will surely grow and perhaps much like a Scandinavian Christmas without Lutefisk, while not identical to what we were raised in, it can become something even sweeter- A holiday that respects and embraces what and who we were raised with while allowing us to make it our own.  This year on Christmas morning we will open gifts according to age, youngest first, and on Christmas morning there will be champagne…just like Grandma’s house…but this year, under no circumstances will we be driving in a blizzard in our Sunday best.  Cheers!

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2 Comments »

  1. Hopefully he will find joy in the memories and in your own family traditions! Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you, dear! To you and yours as well!


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