Like many families these days, my parents and four siblings are flung all over the map. We are not exactly the reunion types, so gatherings are few and far between. While we have shared memories of growing up, we have drifted onto five very different paths. Not unusual in this day and age; many of you live out the same fragmented family lives.
So what do Ken and I do on the grand “traditional” family holidays? The ones where everyone gathers around a communal table to share a turkey dinner or the sharing of presents, or the Easter rites of spring?
We have slowly built our own simple traditions around these holidays. One of my favorites is Easter. Not only are the daffodils drilling their way up through the frozen earth and the crocus popping, for the past three years, we have gone to our friend Beverly’s house for this holiday. Another couple joins in as well with their two young children, ages 4 and 6, who are not only adorable but a pleasure to be around. I am ready to vote Carlos and Lillian as parents of the century. It is clear they love their children, but it is also clear who the parents are. Unusual in this day and age, when parents seem to feel they need to consult their children on everything from supper time to the mortgage payments.
The afternoon begins with an Easter egg hunt outside. The kids search for the candy colored eggs carefully placed about the yard by the Easter bunny, then we go inside for drinks and dinner preparations. Bev is a master chef and enjoys creating recipes from around the world. We have been introduced to cuisines from Thailand, Morocco, India, Mars. But on holidays, she brings out the traditional foods; the ones that say; we are family, this is where we are from. So this Easter, we feasted upon tortellini soup, baked ham, creamy potatoes o’gratin, crispy asparagas, and snappy sweet peas.
Lillian brought her famous flan for desert. I should have realized something was up when they all asked for TWO pieces right off the bat. Since I am not a big custard fan, I was content with one small square. But then I slid a spoonful of sweet silk into my mouth, along with a little of that syrupy caramel. Voila. Confection perfection. I consumed three pieces, just like that, and don’t even feel guilty for it. There are some things that are worth the calories. Lillian’s flan is one of those.
So, while I don’t spend Easter with the family I grew up with, this most special day of new life and new hope is shared with my growing family of friends, one of our many blessings!