My boyfriend and I went camping on our first two Thanksgivings together. Neither one of us have family in town and we are physically unable to fragment ourselves enough to visit everyone spread across the country. So we don’t try.
We love our camping trips. It is a wonderful time to disconnect and reconnect. To slow down and savor. To shiver in the crisp (okay, frigid) morning air and cuddle up in the sleeping bag at night. The coffee tastes better and the showers are somehow more cleansing even though the space is shared with daddy longlegs. The computers are left behind and the other devices only get turned on to play music while we make dinner or play cards or perhaps to check the latest Ravens score. It’s invigorating and relaxing.
But it also takes work. Preparation. Reservations and packing. Shopping and cooking. I get a week off for Thanksgiving and this year we are flying to my boyfriend’s hometown for the first half. As I was looking at the calender, I was realizing the short turn-a-round between that trip and the discussed camping trip. I was just about to question the wisdom of the latter when my boyfriend, apparently reading my mind, said, “We have to go. It’s tradition.”
He’s right. We went on our first Thanksgiving together and it was a time to get to know one another apart from the distractions of life. The second year we went despite being sick and in the middle of a move. We learned how to work together as a team even when neither one of us were at our best. And, this year we will go again. I am not sure what lessons this trip will hold.
But I’ve already learned one. Traditions are important. They bind and anchor relationships, whether with family, children, or partners. They are a certainty, a known, a home to go back to. In divorce, you lose many of your traditions along with your spouse. Let that create the space needed to make new ones.
As for me, I may not be traditional by trading turkey for trail mix, but I love my tradition in the mountains and the woods.
How about you? What are some of your favorite traditions?