Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Power of Tradition

When I was a kid, Superbowl Sunday was a sacred time. Bowls overflowed with chips, hot dogs were boiled and buns steamed, dill pickle chip dip uncovered and either my sister and I were carted to their house or they came to ours.  Friendly wagers were made on the outcome, the score at half-time, who would score first....while we kids played, oblivious of the turf war on TV.  All we knew was that it was a day we got to drink pop, eat junk food and play together all day into the evening.
When we got older, the parents continued to meet, leaving the children wherever they were not.  We began to mimic their traditions.  Friendly wagers, the stakes: who would clean up after dinner.  We microwaved hot dogs, not being allowed to use the stove and we more often than not, were still playing hide and seek, having lost interest of the game by halftime.
When I grew up and moved out on my own, Superbowl Sunday passed unmarked.  University, dating, work---it was hit and miss whether I even took the time to note who was playing.  It had always been less about the game and more about the company and we kids had all grown up and were spread across the country.  Marriage, motherhood, divorce, my parent's divorce, moving across the country, going back to school.  Sometimes things just get lost.
It was a time of challenge and change and felt  like the family model that I came from was a thing of the past. Almost every family tradition has its roots in necessity. Superbowl was the one time a year my parents and their friends were guaranteed to get together.  No one had to ask or confirm, it was a given, and allowed them to share stories, laugh and company.
Over time, that necessity becomes nostalgia, and eventually, it just becomes another way for families to relate and connect with one another. In fact, as families evolve and change, those traditions once again become necessities, as they assume new meaning in the context of our need to communicate and understand our loved ones.
So Superbowl Sunday has been reborn in our house.  Both my boys, 18 and 9, know the menu by heart: boiled hotdoge (the small ones, with the tiny buns!), dill pickle dip and wavy chips, friendly wagers and time together.  It is the one time we know we will be together. It is a special day which comforts me in its ritual and connects my children to their grandparents during their first lives together.  I proves that things continue after difficult times, that some things to indeed NOT change and will remain stable, if not improved upon (we sometimes add chili, cheese and bacon to the hotdogs....), it helps us reconnect, and brings a sense of peace and continuity to our lives as everyone once again, begins the cycle of growing up, moving on, school, work and watching the older generation as they age and grow frail. 
Life may change.  People may age and pass.  We reach to tradition to provide the stability we so crave.
So THANKS Superbowl Sunday!
I have to go dig out the driveway to get to the store for the I am off!

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