Traditions are such a powerful part of life.
They can bring valued memories, encouragement in our journey of life, and can become a special reminder at this time of year.
The Holiday period of Christmas and New Year is such a joyous and wonderful time of celebration as families embark on traditions old and new, sharing the joy of the season in a unique and personal way.
Or so it would be if broken homes were non-existent.
When this happens, as it does all too often, Christmas Joy and Traditions soon turn into pain, heartache and loneliness and make the holiday season, a time of year to be dreaded.
For the first years of motherhood, I tried so hard to come up with traditions and rituals that would impact on my children’s lives, not only at Christmas time but also throughout the year. My aim was to bring cherished memories to last through their childhood and possibly even into the lives of their own children. I tried so very hard, but then my world turned upside down.
As a child from a very dysfunctional home my heart longed for stability and consistency to be a part of my own children’s lives, particularly for the Christmas Holiday Season. My desire was for this to become a special time to remember always, a time of year when they were able to reflect back on where we had come as a family, and count the many blessings we shared over the past year.
This all ended with the ending of my first marriage.
My husband walked out two months before Christmas leaving me with the gift of devastation and heartbreak, wrapped tightly with a huge bunch of tears. What a tradition to provide my children with!
For many years following, the Holiday season reminded me of this experience, bringing my heartache into reality once again and reinforcing the loss of tradition for my children.
Then there was the Christmas without my children! What a painful and horrific time that was. Oh how my family breakdown became so much more evident in the holiday season.
The holiday season was now a reminder that things don’t always go just as they should, or as I had planned. In my mind, the plans I had were now destroyed. I suddenly became very aware of how devastating it can be to watch other families display holiday happiness and enjoy what I had tried so hard to build in the lives of my own children.
I could continue on this path or take the opportunity to build new traditions and display an attitude of resilience to my children. Could this be a new and valued tradition?
So from this time as a family our new traditions began, ones that we enjoyed for many years following.
Traditions such as putting up our Christmas tree while playing carols and eating pizza, a table full of goodies first thing Christmas Eve and our Christmas movie marathon nights.
Despite my season of heartache because of our broken home, I was determined to press my reset button! To embrace the opportunity of new and exciting traditions and build joy into the lives of my children.
If this too is or has been your experience, please know you are not alone. It is most definitely okay to feel sad, after all there is a time of grieving for what is ‘supposed to be’.
Continue (or start) to wish and look for more joy, embrace the opportunity to build new traditions and know that in doing so, each year it will get easier.
May this holiday season bring you blessings abundant, in the rebuilding or continuing of your family traditions.