From our family to yours… best wishes for a very Merry Christmas.
One of my earliest memories as a little girl was of my parents taking me out of bed in the middle of the night in my white nightgown with red ribbons and down to the beach. I remember being totally disoriented until I saw this MAMMOTH animal with a crowd of people around it. I also remember my parents debating if I was old enough to ride the turtle back down to the surf the way Daddy did when he was a boy.
Edisto Beach is still prime nesting ground for the great sea turtles but some things have changed. Nowadays not only do we not ride the turtles back into the ocean after laying their eggs, we do everything we can not to disturb the mamma to be from her task. Also, when the babies hatch our assistance in getting them to the ocean is limited to providing little blockades to get them turned around again. (They say the hatchlings ‘feel’ the beach they are walking on and then it is ingrained into their brain and that is how they know where to come back to lay eggs every year). With everything that changes though, many things stay the same! The only thing more exciting to see than the mammoth turtle laying her eggs is the sight of all the little hatchlings crawling out and making their way into the sea. As a mom myself, the only thing that topped watching the hatchlings was the look on Jellybean’s face as she watched a little turtle walk right between us as we were burying our feet in the sand.
Baby Sea Turtles first walk on the beach.
Have you visited Shutterfly? I have to tell you, I am rather impressed with their site. Check out this darling Valentine I made last night… I mean, who wants a Christmas card when you can have a Valentine, right?
Growing up as a child in the small town of Walterboro, South Carolina, the annual Thanksgiving family gathering at my grandparents’ house was more like a county fair in terms of attendees than what most people experience when they get together with their family. For most people, their ‘immediate family’ is considered to be those that grew up in their house – usually mom, dad, and siblings. My ‘immediate family’ consisted of my grandparents, their four boys (of which my father was one), their boys’ children, sometimes my grandfather’s brother and his three daughters along with their children, and any other in-laws that might tag along. We did not all live in the same house, but we did all lived nearby, which was not all that different in the end. Accordingly, our family holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, were always huge and lots of fun!
I remember that the food was always plentiful, my Uncle Walton was always late, the turkey was often cold, the biscuits like hockey pucks, the wives stressed out, the husbands telling war stories over drinks and, mostly, the grandchildren completely oblivious to everything but having fun, running, laughing, screaming and playing with each other. I idolized my oldest cousin… I thought she was the coolest. We used to cheer on the boys playing sports and dance to records until we collapsed. We kids organized little skits, played in the yard, and on one Thanksgiving my grandmother even had us line up and read versus related to the holiday. At the time I honestly did not appreciate the gift my grandparents were giving me – that of family and a place where I would always belong. Now, all these years later, I really get it.
So this year, for the first time with my own husband and child, we packed the family up in Northern Virginia and headed back down south to Walterboro for a Thanksgiving gathering in the tradition of my youth. My Uncle Walton, the reigning and capable patriarch of the clan, recognizing the chance to make something really magical happen this year got busy early on and worked a miracle – we had 100% attendance of all living descendents from my grandparents and all of their families. Yup, it was all the same linage, only the generation had changed. It was wonderful on so many levels. I was truly in heaven, we even had a photographer on hand to photograph the event and it took as long as I remembered and the children were as impatient with the process as I remembered being myself. But what was the most meaningful to me, as I watched on with moist eyes, was my two-year old daughter, completely oblivious to everything, having fun, running, laughing, screaming and playing with the children of my former playmates in the same setting. Never have I seen a better rendition of Ring Around the Rosie and I must say, I love family tradition like I have never loved it before .