This year feels a little different already.

As you know, a very VERY big thing is happening in my life this year. I’m getting married! That fact has sparked a lot of reflection, including on – the idea? the concept? the amazing wonderful foundation? – of family.

Here’s a throwback:Image

(I grew up on a cattle ranch, in case you are wondering.)

Unfortunately, my family hasn’t always been the closest of families. We’ve had a fair share of devastating events, and that was something that I used to resent.  But slowly, as I’ve grown up little by little, I’ve started to realize that those times led me to learn a lot about myself and my values and my dreams, which are all things that I will be bringing to my marriage to Bill. The holiday season and the New Year are notorious for things such as traditions, and with the idea of embarking on my the incredibly exciting slash terrifying journey of starting my own (when did I get old enough for THAT to happen?), the time I got to spend at home with the family I grew up in seemed to take on a much more meaningful, emotional, and well, almost sad air. But happy-sad. Sad-happy? You know what I mean.

A marriage is really a starting of your own family unit, if a very different one. One of your own choosing. And despite the sad memories that I have often focused on in the recent-ish past, the last couple weeks brought to light some of the great things that have come from that past. Traditions, for instance.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is with my mom. Every year on Christmas Eve, we make the same butter cookies, with the same recipe and the same cookie cutters that we’ve been using for as long as I can remember. They also come with the same whining and complaining that happens every Christmas Eve at around 9 o’clock when we are STILL frosting all 30,000 cookies that the recipe makes. We never cut the recipe in half. We never decide to skip it all together. We just sit there and sigh and grumble and eat frosting until we get sick and yell at the boys who come and steal cookies but don’t help. And we secretly love it, because it leads to this:


Which is great, because even though at that point we huff and puff about eating too many and getting fat and having slightly angry tummies, it leads to another holiday tradition (my favorite one):


Cookies for breakfast!

And we never complain about that.

Even though my mom and I aren’t usually together while eating our Christmas breakfast, we both know that the other is doing it. Every year. And that is something I will definitely bring to my new family, when the time comes.

I’m beginning to realize that even though traditions may sound silly to someone else, they are something that we hold on too for life. Through the good times and the bad. Through big changes and little every-days. And sometimes what gets you through the bad times and the changes and the every-days are those little, seemingly insignificant happy memories that dot the trail of dark or cloudy days.

Kind of like eating cookies for breakfast.

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