Christmas Trees, Weekends in Maine, and the Pitter-Patter that filled the Home

Tradition is an indispensable part of our lives, it carries us through conversations, allows us to remember the memories we hold near to our hearts, and defines who we are as a person.

This may seem like a fully loaded statement but it speaks the truth.

Over the course of the semester I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in a Linked Cohort class that dissected the meaning of home, what it is like to leave home and in the end find home again. While I may be only a nearly nineteen-year-old girl I’ve learned a great deal about leaving home, displacement and finding home again in the past year. In fact some of the wounds are still fresh so it is easy to share my story, but that is aside from the point and not what I’m here to write about.

If you want to read that story, scroll on down to my last post.

Home comes with stories, culture and tradition. Once I arrived at Belmont the meaning of tradition seemed to scream in my ear every other minute. As life proceeded as usual back in Boston, I was absent from all the pastimes and events I treasured so dearly. The realization that life back home wasn’t going to pause and wait for me until I arrived home was a rude awakening.

Stories of home seemed to cloud my mind and distract me from schoolwork. Often times I found myself reminiscing about family past times and traditions just so I would feel the smallest bit closer to home.

“Things that I miss right now….

  1. My house during the Fall season. All the decorations during Halloween and Christmas time. The Country home feeling it has, the smell and aroma that fills the house when mum is cooking. The pitter-patter that happens when everyone is home. Hearing the dogs wrestle then dads shout to “calm down boys”
  2. Abby’s Maine House. Abby, Aunt Deb, Uncle Steve, Gerard AND the Maine House. New Year’s Eve at the house, counting down the time on the TV and making chocolate chip cookies, jumping off the balcony into the mounds of snow, the nightly trip downtown to the grocery store for dinner ingredients then to the movie rental place for the latest film. They were such a large part of my childhood and lately I’ve been missing that, wanting to experience it all again. The innocence, carelessness, the not knowing of what will happen in the future.
  3. I miss familiarity. College is a strange world, it “brings us together” but takes us away from what is closest to our hearts, home.”

                                                                        Journal entry from September 22nd, 2014

The importance of tradition and stories only seemed to amplify as I went through my freshman year at Belmont. Coming home to my family meant so much more in comparison to high school, my gratitude for the life I was fortunate enough to have grew immensely.

Arriving home for Winter break was one of the best feelings from the past year, embracing my parent’s warm hugs and knowing that I was finally home again was such a joyous feeling. No one would ever take that moment away from me.

As Christmas break passed by, it came time to buy down the family tree. For the past few years, my father, little brother and I kept the tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree at a local farm up in New Hampshire. We always made a day of the trip; we would head up to New Hampshire and head on over to Neva Dun Farm to pick out our tree. We would walk around in the freezing cold for a half hour, struggle to find a big enough tree to cut down and end up settling on a pre cut tree. We may not have actually cut our tree down, but it’s the thought that counts isn’t it? After that we would drive to down town Wolfeboro by the lake and stop for a bite to eat at the Wolfeboro Diner. Eventually we would start Christmas shopping for mum, making sure to stop at all her favorite stores. Last but certainly not least, stop at my childhood camp and take our Christmas card photo in front of the brick wall.

This year things were a little different, Dad was busy with work, Patrick had hockey practices since he made the Varsity team and there just wasn’t enough time in the day. Dad suggested we head to a different farm this year, one that was a little bit closer, and instead of the three of us it would just be dad and I. Of course I agreed but it most certainly broke my heart a little bit. I always looked forward to our annual trip, especially this year.

The meaning of tradition stood out to me in moments like these. Just as we discussed in class through works of literature, tradition has played a key role in the development of my character and who I am.

To you, this story is irrelevant and holds no importance to your life. In ten minutes the story will exit your mind and you’ll move onto your next thought. To me, I hold this tradition, these stories close to my heart.

We may not have been able to cut down our Christmas tree this year but that won’t stop me from trying to do so next year.