Friday, December 14, 2012

St. Lucy Day from a can


 This is our second St. Lucy Day as a family of 5. Since we have a Lucy (our oldest daughter, otherwise known as The Bug), we feel we ought to mark the occasion. Lucy may only be older by 40 minutes, but she believes it still counts...you can just tell when you talk with her.

Last year, we said, "Oh, it's St Lucy Day. We should probably do something." The Sisters were not quite 3 months old. Our celebration last year consisted of changing lots of diapers, rocking and nursing. Those things took all day. There simply wasn't time for anything else.

This year, we have (a little) more time, and I fully intended to do something for St. Lucy Day.
Unfortunately, it fell the day after the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which we celebrated. I had planned to make the special St. Lucy bread and have it in the morning. When that didn't happen, I thought I'd make it during nap time and have it with soup for dinner.

It turns out, though, that this year I'm the kind of mom who chooses to go for a 5 mile run (on the treadmill) during nap time instead of baking special St. Lucy bread for my daughter's name saint day. I suspect (okay, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt) that my family had a better evening because of my 5 miler than they would have if I had made the bread, no matter how well it turned out. Every mother runner (and probably her husband and children) knows that Grouchy Mommy in the morning + run at naptime = Better, Happier Mommy in the evening. Grouchy Mommy baking bread...well, that's not quite as predictable.

So, no special St. Lucy bread this year. Although we've come a long way in a year, time is still so limited. As you all know, I have my hands full. I know many of you do, too.

Instead of soup and special bread last night, we spontaneously put everyone in pajamas, hopped in the car, went through the drive-thru at McDonald's, and ate in the car while we drove around town looking at Christmas lights. We ended up outside of town in Shenandoah National Park to catch sight of a few of the Geminids in the hours before the meteor shower peaked, then came home and put everyone to bed a little later than usual.

The nicest thing about family traditions, particularly when you are trying to start them, is that they are flexible. They can be adapted to suit the situation in which you find yourself. I am a devout observer of traditions. I am not a fan, however, of rigidity. I grew up in a blended family with stepsiblings who were not always with us on the calendar date of major holidays. Sometimes we celebrated a day before everyone else we knew and sometimes a day after. My mom's favorite phrase during these times was, "We'll just need to play it by ear." I remember all of us skating around the neighborhood in our brand new rollerblades, telling our confused neighbors that Santa had already been to our house when Christmas was still two days away. We were flexible...and it was fine. It all turned out okay.

Things change, and our traditions need to be able to change, too. Traditions are only as good as they make us feel, and if we stress ourselves out and get all weepy over how things aren't going the way we wanted them to, the tradition is serving itself instead of our families. That's not good for anyone.

So, with yesterday having come and gone with no St. Lucy festivities, we celebrated St. Lucy quickly this morning at breakfast, and we did it in a way that worked for us this year. I made a can of cinnamon rolls (the bake fast method, where you spread them out on the cookie sheet - it took less than 10 minutes). We stuck some leftover birthday candles in them and lit them. I quickly made a wreath for Lucy's head out of pipe cleaners and put some more candles in that. (I did not light them.)

Throw in some smiley kids, and there you have it -
Instant celebration.


See those faces? This is what it looks like when you build traditions from the ground up. It's not always perfect, it's not always Pinterest-ing...but it is always worth doing, anyway. We're building a foundation for our families, for our children. We're laying the groundwork for memories and celebrations in years to come. It is enough just to start something, even if it's something out of a can instead of from scratch.

A happy St. Lucy Day to all of you- a day late and slightly imperfect, but still just as meaningful.