When I joined the Kies family, I joined a tradition. Every Christmas, Nancy’s mom makes suet pudding.
I never had suet pudding, had never heard of it, and thought it sounded, well, awful. Suet was what you put in the bird feeder. Suet seemed in the same delightful family as lard. Suet pudding? The images were horrifying.
Rice pudding, on the other hand, that would have been great. That’s what my family had. At first, I didn’t like the rice part, but really liked the custard. However, eventually I discovered how much I liked the whole thing. (Except the almond, one almond, that always floats around in the pudding, like a prize).
Eventually, however, I tried suet pudding, along with the lemon sauce which was always nearby. It is wonderful, steamed, not far in taste from gingerbread. It’s great. I look forward to it.
This year, Mom made it, but sat at the back of the table. This meant that Nancy was the one cutting and serving. It was an adventure. It was the beginning of a transition. Mom said, “Someone needs to start learning how to do this from beginning to end.” I volunteered, though I won’t be the anointed one. Someone, however, will start to make the pudding.
As we hosted both my family and Nancy’s family this year, as the youngest of the grandchildren on one side is now 16, as the other side has two sixth-graders, as the oldest in each family is older than 75, I am very aware of the need to consider transitions. And traditions.
What is worth passing on? What is worth making the basis for gathering…and what is not?
We didn’t do a gift exchange on one side this year, and it brought great freedom. We didn’t all get together on one place on the other side, but were able to spend extended time with each of the family units, and it brought great fun. We didn’t travel at all, and it brought great relief.
Somehow this year, in the middle of all our family transitions, we had great times with families. Which made its own great tradition.
So, from now on, our new family tradition, worth passing on, is delight in each other. Somehow, unexpected, but great when it happens. I’m wanting to look for that and shop for that and plan for that and work for that. Delight.
Oh yeah. And suet and rice puddings.