Writers are expected to write about things that make you want to slow down and carefully consider the words. I often think bloggers who write about things that are less than inspirational go the wayside. I have spent the better part of today and the two days before (because NaBloPoMo gave me the weekend off) trying to frame something about traditions I practice. There aren’t any. How does a family with five children not bring traditions into the annual change of seasons and roll of monthly holidays?
Maybe theres something to be said for winging it. Without the obligation to tradition, we are free to try new ideas. I haven’t heard anyone complain. Our list of dreams is long and continually added to. When the kids were little, we didn’t have much money. We were poor. Following tradition meant doing things the same, maybe less than grand, way. Sharing dreams means thinking about the times to come, all the holidays, all the pending events and imposing our own fantasies on them. It’s ok to escape to a dramatic and beautiful beach with 12 foot long tables of seafood and endless hours of fun detailed in fancy clothes and your favorite people visiting. It’s ok, especially when your extended family is not holding family reunions in the fall or inviting your children to spend summers at the shore.
It’s more than ok. It’s when you as a family unit matter the most. More than the regularity of repeating the same ways into another generation. Who knows, maybe we started something of never repeating the same thing twice.
Edited 24 hours later to add: This weekend was the Celebration of Obon (Bon) . It was the first weekend in this district of Buddhist Temples. There will be thousands of people dancing and remembering love ones who have passed with dancing, food and smiles. I attended dance practices locally. There is a list of dances sent out from the Southern California Temples, so that if you go Bon hopping, you can jump in and the dances will all be the same. I felt a strong urge to go. There is a part of me (the Japanese half) that is drawn to the Japanese community. Much of what is familiar to me is very organic and it was just a part of growing up. Mom never took the time to explain much. If I learned how to make a recipe, it was from watching. She wasn’t comfortable explaining things in English, so she would avoid it at all costs. She also didn’t expose us to Buddhist teachings or events. Mom had converted to Catholicism in the 60s (I assume) and maybe she just felt the need to leave it all behind. So, here I am. She has passed and I can’t seem to ‘fit in’ to the Japanese community. I fell during dance practice. I felt big and lumbering. It didn’t come as organically as I hoped it would. My Nihongo is very basic. I don’t think I could travel alone in Japan. I wouldn’t get to eat much and probably get lost. So, I am left wondering why she didn’t give us the language? the lore? the inside scoop? Was her desire to make us “American”? Was she ashamed of being Japanese? Why was I ashamed of being half Japanese? And now what? My quapa kids seem to grab the parts of being a quarter Japanese where it suits them. It shows up in the snacks they like, the sakura tattoos (Mom would not be impressed…tattoos are for yakuza! baka!) and maybe in the most important way, gambatte. The keep going part of being Japanese. Rise up and just keep going.