This time of year is filled with old and new traditions. On VProud there is an amazing, and hilarious, video about what to bring to a potluck — with advice from two comedians, VProud’s own Sarah Sommers and Marie Faustin. We sent the video to mother, writer, and recipe creator, Sheri Silver, wondering what it may inspire in her. The answer to our question was surprising and really, really important
. Writing and thinking about holiday potluck ideas right around Thanksgiving brought Sheri back to past Thanksgiving when times were hard and she was on the cusp of divorce. When times are hard many people turn to change, swapping out old for new like Sarah and Marie suggest when thinking about potluck ideas. But what Sheri found, and wrote about, is that sometimes it’s holding fast to traditions and finding new joy within them that gets us through hard times the best.
We love Sheri’s insight and advice for its raw honesty and its gentle reminder to hold space for traditions old and new and holidays easy and hard.
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How My Old Traditions Are Fabulous In My New Life
By Sheri Silver for VProud
For my entire adult life – and by that I mean, when I moved out at 23 – I have had traditions for certain holidays that have never wavered.
Latkes on Chanukah.
The “Charlie Brown Christmas” on endless loop for the entire month of December.
My grandmother’s butter cookies in every gift basket I make.
The “Twilight Zone” marathon on New Year’s Eve.
And Thanksgiving is no exception. It’s pancakes for breakfast, a fire going in the fireplace and the Macy’s parade on tv. My eldest is now 24, and she and her 2 younger brothers (19 and 7) know that this is the deal every year – and I have come to cherish it more than almost every other holiday.
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This was especially true on one Thanksgiving in particular. The year was 2000, and it was clear that my first marriage was heading towards demise. My then-husband was having an affair and I knew that it was only a matter of time before either he left or I ended things for good. But – bizarre to me as it seems now – I was still clinging to some shred of hope that we could still salvage things (we had been married for 13 years and together since college).
So I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, put up the coffee and started the pancakes. My 2 kids – who were 9 and 4 at the time – came down and put on the parade. I served breakfast in the living room – as always – and sat with them to watch. My ex was “out” (seeing his mistress, I later discovered) so it was just the 3 of us. For the first time. And I realized – looking at my sweet kids – that I could still do this. That even if I was about to lose my marriage, I could still give my kids a rich and wonderful life, filled with fun and memorable traditions. And for that moment I felt okay.
Fifteen years later, I am remarried and have another child – who, at 7, already knows what we do on Thanksgiving morning. And he – and my “big kids” – wouldn’t have it any other way.