It was on the treadmill a few days ago that I found the quiet time to ponder the Christmas vacation that had just passed. It was a song by Paul McCartney that was playing in the background that seemed to help build up my mood. My siblings and I seem to have a good thing going, and it was was a silly love song that brought emphasis to the way I was feeling.
The three of us arrived in the US in the 1980s as graduate students.Over time, we began to develop our roots in the country. We started having families. We have been meeting each other during Christmas time ever since we got here, starting to do this more regularly in the 1990s. At first, it was not something that was considered particularly important, but it did become a part of our lives, and by the turn of the century, it was already a ongoing tradition. It takes something very significant, some event with higher priority, for us to miss such a gathering these days. And even if one of us cannot be there, the others make it a point to get together. And along the way, over the years, the group that started out as the basic unit of three has grown in its size, with families, extensions of the family, and children – many, many children! And the bond between us has grown stronger as we keep the tradition going.
Those of us who were young at one time have now progressed into middle age, and a smaller subset of us are already well into the process of passing the ownership of the charge into the future on to others – those who have grown into their own. Youngsters have grown up and developed their own personalities, and their sense of being, all the time feeling the love from the extended family. And then there are the younger ones who are still in the process of coming into their own, showing the promise, and that sense of caring. They are following in the track of their older cousins. The future is in their hands.We, the siblings, for some reason or the other, remain an essential element in this slowly expanding group. It is a place we occupy joyfully. And I celebrate every moment of it because I am not sure how long this will continue.
We are not very good at coming to a decision about where we will meet any particular year. Very often, things happen hurriedly at the last minute, but it does happen. People are able to come to a consensus quickly once the process gets going, and further plans for these trips are in the works pretty soon after that. There is really no agenda that any particular person wishes to push hard. So things have been going smoothly thus far. And love is in the air as people once again reconnect, spend time with each other, and renew their bonds. Other than a couple of birthdays, and the Christmas celebration, there is nothing significant planned during these trips these days. But even those few events we celebrate together take on additional significance every year.
Very often, we tend to gather on the seashore. We can go to the beach, or chill out by the pool, or read a book, or play cards, or listen to music, or go for a walk or a run, or take pictures of the sunrise or sunset. We can have time to ourselves, or organically congregate into little groups that wander off for walks and catch-up time. Any time of day is good for some of these activities. It is all mellow! Someone or the other seems to step up to take care of the needs. Cooking dinners is what seems to require the most planning these days, but there may already be a new tradition underway in this regard.
At this time in my life, I am content to push back and watch the action, and the love and fellowship that is shared when we gather in our little corner of the world at the end of the year, where ever that may be. I do not have to worry, and I just am.
It would take a lot for me to miss this one of these events these days.