I love the holidays. I always have. Several weekends ago Owens and I were driving back from somewhere together and we started talking about the holidays and traditions. Owens commented that he knew I had always loved the holidays and loved traditions, but he could really tell how important they were to me now that I had Morgan Kate. And he's exactly right. He's so insightful.
My parents always provided for me in a way that I can only hope to provide for Morgan Kate. And they gave me things that I will always take with me and cherish. One of those things being traditions. Every day traditions like eating together as a family at the kitchen table. Weekend traditions like getting to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor of their bedroom every Friday night or eating lunch at the Dairy-O after church on Sundays. Summer traditions like our annual family vacation to Folly Beach. Birthday traditions like a cake made from scratch by Mammie and celebrations that last a week.
And then holiday traditions.
Valentine's mornings that included breakfast, chocolates and some sort of stuffed animal. The white fluffy cat with the little pink nose was one of my all time favorites. July 4ths that consisted of tubing down the Edisto River and celebrating Kyle's birthdays and of course some sort of grilling. Halloweens that took weeks to prepare for. Finding the right costume, adding the "just right" accessories and then deciding whether we would go by Mama Jean's or Mammie's first. Thanksgivings with family and lots of food, homemade food. No store bought food or food from a restaurant or Country Club, but food made with our hands and hearts. Food that took hours in our kitchen to prepare and cook. Thanksgiving dinners that left us unable to move, not only from massive amounts of food, but from the fact that our sides hurt so much from laughing. Leaving immediately after Thanksgiving dinner to head to the Christmas lights at the Gardens. Christmas Eve always meant and still does mean the candle light service at church and a big gathering and dinner at Mammie's. All of which are followed by an extremely early bedtime, even still today, so that Santa could/can come. Christmas Eve nights also included one of my most favorite traditions, Mama Jean spending the night with us. Christmas mornings meant waiting in Mom and Dad's room until everyone was ready to go into the Christmas room to see what Santa had left behind. Christmas day afternoons of more fun and eating at Mammies. And then Christmas evening back at my parent's house to celebrate with Mama Jean and my mom's side of the family. And to finish out the year and begin the new, we gather at my parent's again with family and friends and a huge bonfire to ring in the new year.
These aren't things that occurred sometimes. Or just once in a while. These are things I count on. These are things I know were/are going to happen. I rely on them. I look forward to them. I need them. These are traditions. Things that we have done for at least twenty-nine years and things we continue to do. These are the things that have made me the person I am today. And these are the things I want Morgan Kate to know and love.