The Ties that Bind


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Any time someone says the word tradition in our family, someone else will always break into that song from The Fiddler on the Roof.
It’s a tradition.
All  of us have a few traditions.  It’s traditional, for instance, to have turkey for Thanksgiving Day; maybe again for Christmas; and ham for Easter. Why? Well, we know the settlers had turkey on that first Thanksgiving celebration. Not sure why we have it for Christmas, except that it goes a long way, and there are often many mouths to feed on Christmas day.  Ham for Easter?  No idea.  It’s tradition.

I learned a new tradition two years ago in Slovakia. It is the greeting of the double-cheek kiss.  I was uncomfortable at first, because in America the traditional greeting is a handshake. I grew comfortable with it pretty quickly, though, and I actually kind of miss it.


Another Slovakian tradition is a bowl of some king of clear soup before the main course of the  biggest meal of the day.  I loved it. They’re amazing cooks over there. Lots of different soups, all delicious.


In our family, we hold hands around table when we say grace.  And it’s also a tradition that no one starts eating dessert until Mom has finished serving it and is able to sit down. This habit has made some guests a bit uncomfortable when they realized no one else was eating the dessert. Obviously, that wasn’t a tradition in their homes.
Many years ago, when I was about 14, we were invited to Sunday dinner by a wonderful couple and their two sons.  The lady of the house served while we ate, replenishing serving bowls and refilling water glasses. She never sat down until the rest of us were finished. I’ll never forget how uncomfortable my dad was with that.  He asked her once to sit and join us, but the reaction  made it clear that this was their tradition. She ate when all the guests were satisfied. If there had been any daughters, they would have been helping her. My mom offered to help, but was told firmly that she was a guest. It’s the way that family was comfortable.  I was more appreciative than ever, after that, for the way my dad insisted Mom be at the table with us before the meal started.
There was nothing subservient or forced about their behavior. It was their tradition, and they were comfortable with it.
For a long time, it was traditional for my sister and me to get a goodnight kiss and hug from Mom first, and then from Dad.  I don’t remember when we stopped doing that. It just kind of disappeared at some point.
I’m sure most of you have similar memories of some sort. If you didn’t grow up in a home that encouraged family traditions, then I hope you will develop some of your own. They are often the ties that help hold a family together.

5 thoughts on “The Ties that Bind

  1. This is lovely and made me a little teary. My Dad had the rule that we had to eat together every night at 5pm and we always said grace. Since I grew up with it I find it awkward when I go to someone else’s home and they don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jane e

    I remember giving my parents a kiss goodnight. And like you, I don’t remember when it stopped. What I wouldn’t give to kiss them goodnight one more time…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We had traditions. Fresh papaya halves on Christmas morning, with lime juice squeezed over them after Mom poked them all over with a fork. Mom always cooked and Dad always did the dishes. Later when we had a dishwasher, he loaded it, except for the expensive wineglasses. He had poor depth perception and she feared he’d break them. When we had guests, Dad made sure Mom was seated and then he offered a toast to her before anyone dug in. When it was just us, he said grace.


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