MIA & Holiday Learning

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And I’m not talking about kick ass music. I’ve been neglecting my blog something bad. We took a trip to NJ which was lovely beyond lovely. No agenda, no schedule just hanging out with my favorite people in the world. Baby D had a blast. She was a bit hesitant about my parents’ house. She doesn’t visit often enough to really know it yet but hopefully as she gets older she’ll look forward to our trips to the Garden state.

Christmas was great. She got to open so many presents – fun toys and grrreat clothes (the latter are my personal favorite). In our family, we celebrate Christmas Eve (ala Noche Buena). That’s our real party night. We get dolled up, have a massive feast, play music, dance and wait for midnight so that we can all open up one present. Christmas day is usually a day spent in PJs lounging around the house, well after we open all our gifts. We watch movies and bum around until dinner. Then in the evening, we go out and visit friends. I told my husband that this is how I want us to celebrate the holidays as a family. I want us to create a tradition that baby D can look forward to. I’ve also been thinking of trying to sleep under the tree. I’ve read several other people do this as a tradition and I think it’s so much fun. But that will require some convincing for the hubs. He hates the floor more than anything, while I on the other hand, could spend the entire day just sprawled on the floor. Anyways, the holidays were perfect.

I got to spend some much needed quality time with my gramps who I adore. He is the man of my life before I met my husband. He’s my heart, love him. We got to chat a lot about some of the traditions my family practiced growing up. For instance, when I was a kid I always got to pick one of the 3 Kings to write a wishlist to. I’d pick one, usually Balthazar, and write a wishlist and stuff it into an envelope with his name on it. I’d leave it on the Christmas tree and get to open up more presents on the next morning (January 6th). This is something I want Baby D. to experience to. My gramps told me all the names for the 3 Kings but the only one I understood was Baltazar…he told me in Spanish but I couldn’t figure out how to translate the other two. I did a quick google search and was able to tell the hubs the other two names Kasper (Gaspar in Spanish ) and Melchior (Melchor in Spanish)…I wish I could include audio here so you could understand why I had no idea what the names translated to in English…too funny. When I was preggers, I mentioned to the hubby that I liked the name Baltazar for a boy. He thought I was mad but at least now I know why I liked it so much!

My gramps and I also got to chatting about some other traditions. Growing up, there was one day out of the year that I had to cut a snippet of hair. I was told that the saint celebrated on this day would help my hair grow. I had told J about how we had to cut the baby’s hair soon. He looked at me like I had three heads! I had to explain that all I wanted was to cut a snippet. He must think I’m nuts sometimes with the things I come up with! So on February 2nd we get to cut a small piece of baby’s hair. It’s called, in Spanish, El Dia de la Candelaria. I haven’t really found much regarding the saint but lots on the importance of this day. Apparently this is the day you’re supposed to take down your nativity scene.

Learning so much about the traditions I grew up with that I never questioned, made me want 2 things- to celebrate/expose Baby D to the same things and do a heck of a lot of research so I can answer her questions when she gets older. When I was a kid I did what my parents told me to do. They told me I had to have a snippet of hair cut, fine go ahead. They told me to pour water, perfume and flower petals over myself in the shower, so I did (it’s like a spiritual cleansing type thing…my parents would kill me for sharing, for sure, if they knew I was sharing this potentially with the whole world, but luckily right now no one’s reading!). They told me light a candle on certain days for certain saints, I did. But I don’t want to raise Baby D. that way. I want to educate her. I want her to have knowledge so that if, and I really hope it’s when, she has kids she’ll be able to pass that knowledge down to them.

Some people might think the traditions are odd or weird, especially her in New England where it’s not exactly the multicultural haven of the East…did I mention I haven’t met another Cuban in all the time I’ve lived in my current state? Anyways…I think it’s important to bring Baby D up with consistent traditions and customs. For me, it added a magical element to my life. It made me a believer…in ghosts, in energy, in endless possibilities. That’s what I worry about. That I won’t be able to create magic in Baby D’s life. That she won’t be a believer. I don’t know what religion to raise baby, though Catholic is the most likely route since it’s all my hubby and I know, but I’m certain, more certain than anything else, that I want to incorporate my family’s spiritual customs into her life. I’ve just got to figure out a way to balance that magic with the reality of educating her on the background of the traditions. I’m worried my focus on education will kill the magic but we’ll see.

Sooo…one of my goals for 2008 is to really get behind the customs and traditions of my childhood that I want to pass on to Baby D. I’ll try to tackle one at a time because I know that the task is going to get overwhelming…so maybe one a month? Let the fun begin!

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