16. May, 2022

Family traditions

Yesterday we were invited for a meal and my first thought was: what should I bring. Normally I would pick a bunch of flowers, but I had no idea who the people were and what they liked, I did not want to arrive empty. When we suddenly had to leave I ran out of time and came with nothing, feeling awkward. Did they expect anything ? Is it pride?

30 plus years ago, when I met my husband I thought we would have it easy. We both came from a German background and had heard the same stories, songs and prayers as children. Curtesy and respect for elders was also the same. Then came birthday celebrations. Again I thought that both our parents were lower middle class and we would have no clashes there. However that is where the fine differences caused offence and disappointment. When I was given gifts as a child (mind you as a young adult too) I was expected to open the presents and admire them and place them back on the gift table for at least a day. In my husbands family they were expected to like the gift and put it to use immediately .That is how they showed gratitude. It took me years to get used to it.

Then there is the greeting with the hands and inviting people into your home . Regardless what your traditions are , always assume that the other one has good intentions. That is what I think. Besides there is nothing wrong in starting a new tradition. Each family unit has their own and they become even more like a security blanket when you get isolated and lonely.

In the evenings when the children were small, Lullaby singing would be normal for us and we thought it would be cruel to give a kiss and trust that they would not feel lonely in the dark. Others make a child get used to the independency of their room, their time and space quicker and think its cruel to pamper.