As a #CompelledTribe we write monthly community blog posts and this month is centered around the traditions within our holidays! As I reflected on this topic so many directions came to mind, but I’ll start with Grandpa Bruce and I.
You see Grandpa Bruce and I’s relationship goes way back…. I’ll still never forget helping Grandpa remove a whole stone retaining wall and then replacing it stone by stone to ensure it was straight and true. Yet, one of my favorite memories of us working together was a couple years back.
It has been a family tradition for Grandpa to put up Christmas lights at the house for at least a few decades. Yet, with Grandpa not getting any younger we discussed as a family that it may be time to help because he was still bound and determined to walk the roof line and put them up. So, that is where this story finds me. Discovering 24 feet off the ground that I have a very real fear of heights as I’m peering over the gutters.
Trying to steady my hands as I reached out over nothingness to grab hold of the next string of lights. Clip. Clip. Clip. What a joyous sound! I kept telling myself…one more string of lights closer to being done with this dreadful project! Who on earth could find any pleasure in doing this I thought. To pass the time and calm my nerves I kept replaying (quietly humming) the song Deck the Halls.
After about an hour more Grandpa ready to plug in the lights turns and says, “Okay, Anthony moment of truth.” I was too busy blessing the solid, unelevated ground to look up. That’s when I heard Grandpa give a disapproving chuckle, “Well, I guess we should have checked the lights before we strung them up.” Head shooting up I saw a few bulbs were out and a couple of strings were only half-lit. “Looks like we’ll need to take some down,” Grandpa said as he grabbed the ladder…rehashing the same fearful process I helped bring down the lights we had just placed!! Next we spent the majority of the afternoon replacing bulbs and checking, then rechecking light strings.
During the process, Grandpa and I got to do a lot of visiting. Reliving some of his special Christmas memories as a child from the Depression and Dust Bowl. The time seemed to fly by too soon. What had been an arduous process just hours previously became a completely enrapturing time as he shared stories I’d never heard. When we had successfully strung all the Christmas lights, we stood back and took stock of our work. Grandpa simply said, “Thanks Anthony for spending the day with me it was fun.”
Like a load of bricks it finally hit me…yeah traditions like “decking” out the edge of the house line with lights may seem like a fruitless adventure, but it wasn’t the act of putting up the lights, it was who I was spending time with, that mattered. What makes the time I spend with Grandpa Bruce so special is that I lost my last biological grandparent when I was nine years old. Marrying into the family made no difference for Bruce as he embraced and has loved me as one of his very own grandchildren. These will be memories I remember and cherish the rest of my life.
As we celebrate the traditions in our holidays be sure to look around and see how your life is “decked” out with those who are sources of love and support. It is less important to think about having the perfect tradition, rather let us focus on appreciating how traditions are a conduit in building relationships across generations and distance. Hope everyone has a wonderfully blessed Holiday season!!
Writer’s Note: I apologize for my recent lack of posting, as I tie up some loose ends for the holiday season I’ve got some posts coming up on the docket I’ll be excited to share with you all! Safe travels and as always thanks for reading!