Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Last Weekend's Tradition

I posted this same photo on Facebook last week -
a scarf I created by upcycling some of my old MJF t-shirts & 
 sewing patchwork pieces together at Bella's Studio in Monterey,
one of my favorite places for creativity and inspiration  

Thoughts fresh on my mind after spending last weekend at the Monterey Jazz Festival…the enjoyment and comforting sense of certainty in maintaining a long standing tradition.  Attending the festival has been a tradition of ours for over 20 years, and despite distance, illness and in more recent years, child care challenges, my husband and I haven’t missed a year.  For us, the MJF weekend is a “sacred” weekend and a steadfast tradition.   
We lived in Minneapolis for a couple years while my husband was earning his master’s degree at the University of Minnesota, and despite the limitation of one income at that time, we were able to return home for the festival weekend.  I’ll always remember (with great appreciation!) a good friend of ours making his way through very heavy traffic, determined to reach the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in time, and against rush hour odds, we caught our flight! 
Since our daughter entered our lives, we've had to piece together child care like a jigsaw puzzle, recruiting support from family, friends and babysitters, but the festival is also expanding into a family tradition as she joins us to attend some of the afternoon shows.  In the past three years, she has even formed her own little Saturday afternoon tradition of playing with another little girl who’s her same age (and whose family sits next to us in the same row.)
Last year I rallied and managed to attend the festival while I was ill.  I remember how intently focused I was on feeling stable enough to enjoy at least a portion of the festival weekend and how grateful I felt to succeed in being there.  The festival weekend was pleasurable and familiar in the midst of an unpleasant and unfamiliar time.
This year another good friend commented about the traditions she looks forward to while at the festival, and I've been thinking about how there are indeed "sub"-traditions within a tradition.  While enjoying the overall festival and its music, we also enjoy the traditions of socializing with local and out-of-town friends, indulging in meals and treats from our favorite food booths and shopping for MJF souvenirs and unique (many handcrafted) items from vendors.
As life presents uncertainty, the comforting certainty of fond traditions can center, uplift and energize us.  What are some of your favorite traditions?