Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A better tradition

It's not easy to change family traditions.
People get stuck in their ways. Sometimes they feel like change means the end of all the good times....especially when the memories they have are so sweet.

I'm one of those people. I have some incredible family memories, and I'm a stickler for tradition. I find myself longing for things to never change. The family get-together on my dad's side of the family is one of those things I never wanted to change. Since before I was born, the Wilsons faithfully gathered in Western Maryland at Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. I can't begin to describe how much I loved that time of year, and how anxiously I anticipated that very special day. Early on, Kelly and I determined that Thanksgiving was our favorite holiday---even better than Christmas.

Traditions of course aren't always forever. When grandparents pass away, older generations age, and families grow, things change. Sometimes traditions end. Sometimes they improve.

My sister and I were the most loathe to change our Thanksgiving tradition. As attendance dwindled each year, we vowed to never miss a Thanksgiving and we gave the rest of our family members heck for not showing up.

Then, we kind of just got it. I'm not sure whether we grew up or forced ourselves to deal with change or learned to adapt like mature adults. Somehow along the way, we understood and became kind of OK with change.

It helped a bit that our family get-togethers didn't go away. They became bigger and better. They have transformed into weeklong summer vacations in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. We rent four houses on the lake and spend the week boating, golfing, swimming, fishing, relaxing and just enjoying each other.

We just returned from Deep Creek, and I have to admit is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the summer. I felt like I got to know my cousins even better and there's nothing like seeing your own kids bond with your cousins' children.

Julie went tubing behind the boat for the first time, navigated a ropes course and she was brave enough to belt out a song during talent show night. Julie and Johnny rode the mountain coaster and played nine holes of golf with Scott and our cousins. We dressed in 50s garb for our sock hop night and played a rousing game of musical chairs when storms kept us inside for game night.

It was a great week of bonding that I now look forward to every year.  I'll be hard-pressed to change this tradition.


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