Well, I’m back from the holiday travels hoping to relax a bit before going back to the usual next week. Had a great visit with my side of the family where we played our annual crazy Present Game, worked on a new annual puzzle, ate our annual eggnog cookies and rum balls and homemade peanut brittle, reminisced about old stories and came back with some new ones.
To me, that’s one of the most fun things about being with family – hearing the stories, sharing them with the kids. My sister and I swapped car stories, about the cars we had in our younger years. Our three teen drivers learned about the exciting (and sometimes dangerous) adventures one can have as a new driver with an old car…important lessons in reality. At my dad and step-mom’s kitchen table, I regaled the nieces and nephews with funny tales of Charlie the hamster, my long-lived childhood pet… Charlie and the Chipmunks, Charlie and the Bumblebee (aka “How Charlie Saved Our Lives”)…that little hamster had some adventures! We also came home with new stories concerning my mom’s increasing dementia. Mom kept putting things into her purse or suitcase that weren’t hers (“What’s this? How did it get there? I didn’t do it!), and while trying to videotape Mom telling some childhood stories to all the grandkids we discovered she didn’t exactly remember them anymore and kept repeating variations of the truth as she now didn’t know it. “What did you expect, you’re a year too late,” said my husband (a lesson to all about not waiting too long – thank God we have her Cherry Blossoms memoir.)
Today, New Year’s Day, is also about tradition. I will make Japanese mochi rice cakes for us, grilled on the stove and served with soy sauce and dried seaweed, and then have black-eyed peas as a dinnertime side dish to cover all the good-luck bases. I will get my new calendar datebook ready for the upcoming year. I’m glad I have saved all my old datebooks which are like mini diaries in case I need to look back into time. Better yet, if one ever aspires to write about one’s life, a timeline created in MS Word or even handwritten is a helpful tool for remembering the when’s and where’s of significant moments and events. Hope your holidays were wonderful and full of stories.
Akemashite omedeto! (Happy New Year in Japanese)