Friday, April 29, 2011

Making New/Old Traditions I Go Along

038Right around the time LT was in her friend’s basement, trying not to infringe on their traditional family Easter, and writing her post: what you miss growing up as an un-adopted foster kid, I Ironically I had a ham in the oven. I was boiling the noodles for baked mac and cheese, throwing some fat-back into a pot of greens and cutting potatoes for some country style green beans. For the first time in my adult life I was having a traditional Easter celebration, at my house for my kids and my family.

065Before everything fell apart, the Christian holidays including Easter were a very big and important part of my childhood and our family traditions. There were Easter baskets, colored eggs, new clothes a trip to St Collette Catholic Church and hour long car ride to Tecumseh to visit both sets of grandparents. We would absolutely gorge ourselves on my Grandma Koffron’s deviled eggs, wearing black olives on our fingers and sit at the kids table with all of our cousins. Those are the kind of memories that could, should shape a lifetime.

056But then my world shifted on it’s axis. The bottom fell out. Children became inconvenient baggage, and the universe conspired to convince us that that world never existed and to make us forget who we really were.

I would like to say that we did forget, but we never did and I never will forget that we were the Koffron kids of Country Club Drive, the children of Bob and Linda, grand children of Bob and Amethyst, Hugh and Ernie(stine), great grandchildren of Mable and Elmer, and that the first nine years of my family life were just as real as the next nine years struggling as a ward of the state.

057The memories of those nine years did not die, they festered, and they showed up and made themselves known as rage and sour grapes. They showed up as walls of self-preservation, denial and apathy towards anything traditionally family related. But as destructive as it was to me to suppress and as convenient as my denial may have been to others, the fact is that I once had a family, we were once catholic, we had a traditional upbringing and we had traditions that belonged to us. Ones I will no longer allow to be held hostage to the convenience of others, the devastation of myself or the disappointment of my children.

061I do not have any plans of showing up for mass anytime soon, but I will no longer deny that my family ties to my father’s catholic religion are any more or less a part of me and my early family upbringing than my mother’s blood ties to Judaism, my father’s later conversion to Judaism, or the years I spent in the no-man’s-land of the foster care system.

This year we had Easter. We dyed eggs. We spent the day with some of the people we love most and who are and have always, since the day they came into my life been forever family, my (n)sister, and three generations of my “chosen” family. And the neighborhood kids turned out for what ended up being a monumental Easter egg hunt, with more eggs being scrounged up and filled with each new “count me in.”

054This year I have come to realize that to deny myself of my childhood memories is to deny my children of the making of their own. I think we had the best non-Catholic, non-Jewish, non-African-American traditional Easter ever, because that is all a part of who I am and am not.

If you are in the neighborhood next year, come on by…you are always welcome here.

Powered by Blogger