Like most families, we're big on tradition in the O'Keeffe clan.
It's a very small part of what holds us all together, but a very important part. This is particularly true during certain times of the year -- mainly Christmas. Every so often Mammy O'Keeffe half-threatens to abandon the five-day preparation she endures from a cooking/shopping/etc point of view in favour of uprooting us all to a hotel on December 25. I'm pretty sure it takes more than five days to sort what this lady pulls off each year but she downplays it. Plus -- it has to be pointed out -- that Pops does half the work; it's all team play in O'Keeffe-land.
Anyway, it's always my gorgeous big bro who takes the bait. He balks at the thought of any change in how we celebrate this major religious/family occasion, with the ism -- "but it's traditional". Fear of change is indeed a scary thing.
The truth is that the traditions that my Mam and Pops have created for us all are not in any danger of going by the wayside. My amazing parents want us all to be there on that special day of the year celebrating it in exactly the same way, simply because there is no one else on the planet that any of us would rather be with -- and if there are any new additions then, of course, they are invited to our little home. The older I get, the more I appreciate these traditions -- and equally I do indeed look forward to embracing new ones.
My passport ran out last year and I do fully intend to renew it but, in the meantime, I have used my built-up holiday time to simply chill out on home turf -- and make a new tradition.
Myself and my mam now always have a mother and daughter day each time I take a week or two off work. It generally involves something simple, such as her picking me up and us going to the local park for a walk, then a coffee and then maybe even something as mundane as a food shop after.
To me, it's bliss. An entire morning with my mam. And my latest nod at an even newer tradition? I'm going to help out more this Christmas so there's more time for those walks in the park with my mam.