Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Homesickness and birthday traditions

The boys and I skyped with my mom and niece today. It was a nice chat, the boys love seeing Lala and their cousin Ryan. As they talked of their plans for tomorrow, I suddenly felt these pangs of homesickness and wishing we were in Texas with them. My grandmother turns 90 years old in a few days, and so all my uncles and aunts are in town to celebrate and my mom and step-day's house will be filled with thirtysomething people (my aunts, uncles, cousins, and many of my siblings and nieces) to partake in a massive thanksgiving meal together. We'll see most of these people next month when we'll spend an ample three weeks at home for the holidays, but still. One of the things tugging at my heart strings right now is that my sister Jen is there, my little sis who I used to see about once a month until she moved to Hawaii a year ago, and who won't be there at Christmas (there are tentative plans for her to visit us here in March or April....).

Our dear friend Sasha is here in New Hampshire with us right now, and I know we'll have a great day tomorrow eating turkey and pie with her and our own little family, and a great weekend spending time with dear friends both old and new. Yet I still feel that longing, that sadness at being far away from so many of the people who mean the world to me.

Quinn's birthday is a little more than two weeks away. I recently realized that this will be the first birthday in a long time where we won't have any family or long term friends present... Meaning Zach and I will be the only ones who'll know and sing the three birthday songs that have become a tradition (started by my soon-to-be 90yr old Grammy) in our family. So I thought I'd sit down with Donovan and teach him the songs, so that we'd have at least one other (small) voice singing along with us at Quinn's birthday. Ok, so D has heard these songs several times at other birthday celebrations, but I figured these events were few and far-enough between that he wouldn't have learned the songs well enough to sing them himself.

Turns out I was wrong. He knows the usual Happy Birthday, but as I sang through the other two songs, ready to then break them down by lyric to teach them to him, he blew me away by already knowing and singing most of the words right along with me.

We don't have a whole lot of established family traditions, but this simple one is near and dear to my heart. And it melted some of my homesickness away to know that Donovan knows these songs, that we are passing this little tradition on to a third generation. It helps me not feel quite as far away from family.

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