Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Family Traditions

I have written a couple of articles for the newsletter of our agency, Bethany Christian Services.  The first one was about being a Working Mother, which I have to admit, I initially wrote a bit defensively because of a comment about me wanting to have it all.  It still worked out okay.  For the July newsletter, I was asked to write one about Family Traditions.  It's really perfect timing what with summer time and Independence Day and Family vacations. . .the mind automatically goes to what the family traditions are for this time of year.  And so, without further ado, I share my article with you about Family Traditions.

Krasniy Ugol—Beautiful Corner

By Stacy Harrison

Each family has its own traditions.  What these constitute generally depends upon the makeup and geographic location of the family.   Webster’s Dictionary definition for “Tradition” is 1): an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom.)  2): the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or example from one generation to another without written instructions.   One of the definitions for “Family” is designed or suitable for both children and adults.  This second definition changed for us three years ago when we brought Aidan home from Russia.  The first definition also changed, but more in a manner of adding new cultural traditions to our already established family traditions.  But let me start at the beginning.
A family naturally changes its makeup when a child is added.  Ours changed dramatically from a two income, no kids “family” to one that included a kid a little more than three years ago.  And, we had been a two income no kids “family” for 21 years.  21 years during which we had established our own traditions of customs we cherished from our childhoods:  beach vacations in the summer; family Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter; weekly or biweekly date nights of us or us and friend’s. . .and then we went to Russia. . .and brought home Aidan. . .life changed forever.
The idea of adoption was not a new one to us, or the Harrison family, when we decided to adopt.  In fact, you could call adoption a family tradition.  On the day that Aidan was baptized, I overheard my father-in-law, immense pride and love dripping from his voice, tell the priest about how adoption was a family tradition.  You see, my mother-in-law was adopted as an infant, my husband (and his sister) were adopted as infants, and now our son, Aidan, is the third generation Harrison continuing our family tradition of adoption.  What a blessing to be a part of this wonderful family tradition!  Adoption was always something we wanted to pursue.  We just took longer pursuing it than we had thought we would. 
So, what do we do now as a family of three?  Well, we have continued the traditions we already had in place: we go to the beach every summer; we have extended family for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter; we go to the 4th of July parade and the Halloween parade here in Leesburg.  And this summer we’ll be taking Aidan to Disneyland, yes “land” because that is where Mama went as a child, where I am from.  And, now we have added some other things from our youth: sports and music.
We have also added some other traditions in our household to recognize the International flavor of our family: we included Father Frost in our Christmas decorations, (a uniquely Russian decoration and story similar to Father Christmas); we have a Russian Easter Egg; and we talk about “what time is it right now in Russia?”   We also take day trips to Washington, D. C. and Mt. Vernon frequently to wander the museums and see the historic sites that are so close to our home, comparing them to what we saw in Moscow, of course.  We hope to add Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Philadelphia, and Monticello this summer to our repertoire.
We also have, what is called, in Russia, a Beautiful Corner, or a Krasniy Ugol.  I love that it is called Krasniy Ugol.  In Russian, Krasniy means both Beautiful and Red.  This is typically a place where icons and special pictures are that the family can go to for worship.  This was very important to a peoples who had nothing else religious available for over 70 years.  Aidan is from Krasnoyarsk—Beautiful Hills or Red Hills, whichever definition you decide to use.  And so, I have created a place on our main level, with a background of red on which hangs iconic pictures that we took of Russia, some having to do with Krasnoyarsk and others of Red Square—Krasnaya plóshchad, but all are beautiful.    
This past Christmastime, I had lost track of what Aidan was up to while I got us ready to go one morning.  All of a sudden I heard Tchaikovsky’s music for The Nutcracker.   Ironic.  I looked over to the family room and saw my young son absolutely mesmerized by the television.  I walked over to see what he was watching.  It was, in fact, the ballet The Nutcracker.  I said, “Aidan, do you like this?”  Oh, yes, Mama!  Especially the music!!  I anticipate that going to see The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center will become a new tradition this coming Christmas.

1 comment:

sonflowerjax said...

WOW! I will have to look more closely at the "name" part of the newsletter! I really enjoy reading them! :) I submitted our picture for the arrivals section, so keep a look out for us! :) Love your article, and can't wait to add the Easter DC trip to our traditions!!