Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Jan. 15, 2010

The making of a holiday tradition

The Christmas and New Year's holidays are a combination of connecting the old with the new, of tradition mixed with current happenings, some of which eventually become traditions themselves.

That certainly was true for our family this year. Losing husband Art's Mom last summer meant no Vaughan Christmas in Wisconsin. Yet the plans for our Kansas Christmas proceeded pretty much as usual.

But tradition is a strong force, so when Art's cousin's daughter Hannah, who is two months younger than daughter Katie, said she really wished they could get together, Art wasted no time booking plane tickets so he and she could spend a few days in Wisconsin.

While they had fun, it was an all-family event that really made this holiday one to remember. Oldest daughter Mariya and long-time friend Lacey decided that getting married right after the New Year seemed better than waiting until summer. When family friends mentioned to the girls that their time-share/rental chalet in Vermont was available the first week of January, it was quickly reserved and other arrangements then fell into place.

Being surprised is also a Christmas tradition, usually coming in the form of gifts. But our trip to Vermont provided us with a surprise that startled the others and amazed me.

We flew into Albany, New York, spending the night in a local hotel. The next morning, we headed out for Wells, Vermont. It was snowing steadily, but not enough to stop us from spending time along the way shopping. By the time we arrived just after dark, several inches had accumulated. We discovered the place we were staying was up a long, curving hill and three attempts left us unsuccessful in our attempt to reach the crest. At each attempt, Art had to back down the hill to start our ascent again. Part-way up on the fourth try, Art suggested we four gals try to see if pushing helped, for if it did, he'd have Mariya drive and he'd take her place pushing.

We pushed as hard as we could, but suddenly Katie slipped and fell face-first into the snow behind the van. At that same instant, Art, deciding it was hopeless, shifted his foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal, causing the van to roll back slightly.

But all I saw was Katie on the ground and the van moving toward her. Without any conscious thought, I grabbed her coat collar with my left hand and flipped her onto her back, sending her sliding down the hill.

The others looked on stunned, but I was too busy chasing after Katie, afraid I had hurt her and hoping to stop her from sliding further.

After we all scrambled back into the van, Art once again backed to the bottom of the hill. We waited until a passing snow plow had made two passes on the hill and we were finally able to make it to the top - just barely. The twinkling lights strung along the chalet's balcony were a welcome sight indeed! The chalet turned out to be every bit as beautiful as the pictures we had seen and the view overlooking the wooded valley was nothing short of fabulous.

But for the rest of the week, even after the wedding had come and gone, the others kept calling me "Mom beast" and saying it was one of the most amazing things they had ever seen.

To be honest, I still have no idea how I was able to do it. All I can say is that the protective instinct of a mother for her offspring is not to be underestimated.

But regardless of where I found the strength, I'm confident the tale of "Mom beast" is already well on the way to becoming another part of our holiday traditions.

2010 Index