Once upon a time, for many years, I shopped alone, wrapped alone, took complete responsibility for the gifts given at home. Now, I have partners and assistants--kids who have taken on, and once in a while, even taken over.
Once upon a time, for many years, I stood over an oily pan for hours, cooking latkes that might be judged and evaluated, and, good or bad, would be consumed in a fraction of the time that they took to make. Now, I am part of a team, the result of which is a better, happier time, and better latkes as well.
Once upon a time, for many years, I made the plans, packed the bags, worried alone about departures and preparations and completion. Now, I share the plan, share the prep, share the pressure, which makes not just for not just a slightly calmer me, but also a more engaged family.
Once upon a time, for many years, time was a given. We knew when it was ours, and when it wasn't. Now, time is often grabbed, snatched from busy schedules and varied expectations and overwhelming responsibilities. Which makes us have to fight for it more, but allows us to appreciate it more as well.
Once upon a time, for many years, money felt like not much of an issue, then the only issue. Now, it is a part, but not the whole, a means, but not the end. And it feels as though the weight of a thousand pennies has been lifted.
There is tradition, for which I am grateful. But this year, I find myself being just as grateful for change, which has the power to make traditions better, and to help us understand, sometimes, why the traditions even mattered in first place.
There is tradition, and there is change. And the change has made all the difference.