“Why are we waiting in here? I want coffee. We’re not eight years old anymore.” He leaned against the door frame.
“Because that’s what mom wants.” I bit my lip.
We awoke on Christmas morning at my parents house. I could smell coffee in the other room. Things clinked and clattered. Low voices came from the kitchen. The clink of a spoon against a ceramic mug caused my stomach to grumble.
“C’mon out!” Mom had her camera poised.
My husband and I walked into the living room. My teenage siblings rushed out as they once did at eight years old ooing and ahhing over the stockings and Santa gifts.
“I’m almost forty years old.” My husband said under his breath.
“Humor her.” I elbowed him and pasted a smile on my face.
I reflect back on that day. Those were the first years in our marriage—years minus any boundaries. It frustrated Tony to act like a child at almost forty years old and it embarrassed me. I wasn’t angry at him that day. My lack of backbone frustrated me. When I was a teenager, I pretended to believe in Santa because I feared that saying I didn’t believe would eliminate the Christmas stocking game. Instead, those games continued into my early thirties. We were expected to wait in the room as if we were children again. Tony has told me many times following that last Christmas we are not playing the game again.
“I want to wake up on Christmas morning and have a cup of coffee.”
Our Christmas stocking tradition has matured. Tony individually wraps each stocking stuffer and I prefer to cram everything into his sock. We hide each others stockings in places we know the other would not look, and this fine tradition has brought us many years of joy. While mom did a lot of things wrong, some things she did right. Those memories I hold close to my heart, like the bread she would bake and slice for Christmas morning; the praline pecans that she made every year; and the generosity she and my stepdad exhibited on Christmas mornings with presents and candy. Traditions change as children grow older. A new couple create their own traditions inspired from past traditions. It’s the natural cycle of things.
If you are a parent, what old traditions have you kept and what new ones have you adopted?