52NEW ~ Thanksgiving Friendship Bracelets

This Thanksgiving long weekend was a bit different for me because I had the holiday Monday off! In radio-land, generally speaking, we work STATS so it was an unexpected joy to have one off, and the timing was perfect!

You see, the call had come from the coast.

Steve’s mom had laid down the law and wanted ALL the family to gather at her place for Thanksgiving. This year was special because part of the family will soon be going on a grand adventure! Steve’s sister, Shanda, and her family be leaving very soon to go to Fiji on a mission’s trip that will keep them away from the rest of us over Christmas and half way around the world for a considerable length of time.

Who is ALL the family?

Youngest: Shane (with wife Carla and 2 boys Blake and Ben)

Youngest girl: Sheryl (with husband Rick and 2 boys Eli and Easton)

Oldest boy: Steve (with wife me)

Oldest: Shanda (with husband Craig and 3 girls Alexandra, Anika and Alaina)

Notice anything here? Shane, Sheryl, Steve, Shanda, and the kids; Blake, Benjamin, Elijah, Easton, Alexandra, Anika and Alaina? Seriously, a couple more generations and we will have our very own alphabet book.

It is a wonderful family, but getting us all in one place at the same time can be a challenge!

Part of that challenge is I.

You see, I have lived on the other side of the country from my own family for over 15 years. I love them and we are close, but not in the traditional way. We don’t need to chat everyday and we don’t see each other as much as we would like (it is so expensive!). We do talk more frequently now that Skype is in our life, but remaining in geographical proximity has never been necessary in order to be “close” to my family.

This means that I have built my own traditions and customs by incorporating things from childhood with my experiences in the various cities I have lived in and people I have spent time with.

When you marry into a family that is essentially local this independent outlook can unintentionally cause a few issues.

I didn’t even know that my behaviour was odd until a couple years into my relationship with Steve. I think Steve’s family is great! I love to visit; it just doesn’t always work out that we can.  And because of 15 years of living away from family, I don’t feel that anything is missing if we skip a Christmas or two. This past weekend I was reminded that not everyone views family relationships like I do.

Steve’s mom was positively glowing.

She had managed to get all her kids, all the spouses but one (he was working), and all the grandkids together at church on Sunday for Thanksgiving. It was a minor miracle!

Was that the sound of angels singing on Sunday morning?

Yes it was and they were singing for Steve’s mom Shirley (yes, another S). So while my 52NEW this week is about making “Friendship Bracelets” with my nieces, it was also a nice lesson on how sometimes actually being together (meaning in the same room) can make a difference for someone, and it can be worth it just to see a mom smile.

Special note to my Mom – yes, I know we need to visit…I’m working on it.

I got to spend some fun time with the young ladies of my husband’s clan, from oldest to youngest: Alexandra, Anika and Alainia. I learned tons of cool things. Alexandra wants to be a lawyer and help stop the sex trade! Alina is a wonderful artist and perhaps will open a dog grooming business one day. Anika has a fabulous laugh and smile and is thinking of following in her sister’s footsteps to be a lawyer.

Best of all, I learned how to make a friendship bracelet!

Wikipedia tells us:

The knotcraft and hand weaving used to create traditional patterns stems from Native American handcrafts, particularly from Central American tradition. According to indigenous tradition, the recipient of a friendship bracelet must wear it until the cords wear out and fall off naturally. The idea is that the friend paid for it with the hard work and love that made it, and the recipient repays the friend by honoring the work. Removing the bracelet before it naturally falls off is a sign that the friendship has gone sour. Another variation of this tradition is that the recipient of a bracelet is entitled to a wish. After the bracelet wears out and falls off naturally, the wish will come true!

I have seen them for years, but for some reason that part of childhood training remained a mystery, so I had the pleasure of being taught by these wonderful ladies. One of the nice things about a friendship bracelet is that is pretty straight forward, and once you get the hang of it, you can chat. And chat we did! After covering the basics of their goals and dreams, we talked about their mission trip to Fiji, reality TV and other fun facts.  The girls were surprised to learn that I know how to ride a horse and had even won a few ribbons in my youth!

My 52NEW lesson on how to make a “Friendship Bracelet” turned into a wonderful hour spent getting to know some of my family (by marriage) a little bit better. Obviously the “Friendship Bracelet” is about more than just the thread it’s made of.

I don’t think I will be taking off my new “Friendship Bracelet” anytime soon!

Tangible lessons:

– Making a mom smile is a very good thing.
– Stepping out of your traditions on occasion to embrace those of others is a good thing.
– A Friendship bracelet is pretty easy to make – for just about any age!

~~ Make sure to check out the vlog… I did learn one more lesson from the girls’ dad and it’s a fun one!