We went to Handel’s Messiah last weekend. I’m completely in love with our symphony’s conductor. He moves his whole body, lets the music flow through him. He’s not just a tux and a stick. He’s more and I like that. Plus his name is Tito, so there’s that.
We go to Handel’s every year. I’m not religious, but it’s a tradition and I like that too.
Some years it’s too warm in whatever church was chosen. Those are usually the years I wear the scratchy sweater. Some years the dinner before isn’t very good. Most years we are late, and as we are running from the parking lot, Michael is dragging me in my “not so great at running” heels while he curses that we should not have had dessert.
I remember one year when my son was about eight, he wasn’t feeling well when we left the house and half way through the performance he was really sick. Fever sick. We spent the second half of Handel’s in the back of the car, he was wrapped in my coat and I was holding him until he fell asleep.
Each year we pick my mom up at the 7-Eleven parking lot and we go to dinner first. Every year our children diligently follow along in the program. They enjoy it on some level, but they clearly anticipate the end.
This year there was a woman behind me that kept coughing and hocking up something. She probably should have hung out in her car, but maybe it’s her tradition too. When the performance was over, she was hooting and yelling, “Bravo!” Not really my style, neither were her Christmas tree earrings, but she rocked her red lipstick and I smiled at her as we left.
Sometimes tradition gets a bad rap. People tend to attach stogy, 1950’s, intolerance, Lawrence Welk to it, but it’s not that at all.
Tradition is staying the course, showing up, even if the dinner was, “eh” or the seating is uncomfortable. It’s pushing through, getting together even though the years, life, often makes that difficult.
Fly by the seat of your pants, “just go with whatever” is cooler these days. It’s easier, there’s no planning or running around trying to find the tape roller thing because you have dog hair all over your black pants. It might be easier, but “whatever” doesn’t get anyone through a tough time or a rough year. It’s not solid, it’s slippery, vague.
Tradition is the opposite of it’s often misunderstood reputation. It’s not about fake bullshit for the sake of a picture or an image. In an uncertain world, a “what’s around the corner?” life, tradition is solid, a have to, it’s roots. Often messy, and always work, at the end of the day, at the end of my life, I will remember my traditions. I just know I will.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Set Bedtime.