Family Traditions

Hello all! This week I have all the perfect ingredients to talk about family traditions. Ingredients: tons of tomatoes, one friend, one mom, and one grandma!

Last week I was lucky enough to be a part of a family tradition that’s spanned longer than I’ve been alive. I was finally able to join in the fun and help my Grandma make here famous stewed tomatoes. She’s been making this recipe for years and it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. I, personally, like to use it for chili and goulash starter!

While I’m not going to be sharing the recipe with you (family secret) I will be sharing the importance of family tradition and spending time with your loved ones.

I have three of my four grandparents still around. I try to spend time with them as much as I can, but having my own life can make me busy so I don’t always get to see them as much as I’d like. That’s why I was tickled pink to finally be able to stew the tomatoes with my grandma this year. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a little girl and I was finally able to join. After years of being too young, too cool, too poor to visit, and too far way, I finally found myself back in a familiar space with a familiar face. My Grandma Bench’s kitchen.

When I was little, I used to spend a lot of time with my grandparents, especially during the summer. My usual day would start with me showing up to their place around 11am, I’d meet Papa in the garden and pick a bunch of veggies, go upstairs and help Gramma make more salsa (it’s so delicious you always run out), and then I’d head down to the pool. I’d unlock the gate and help papa take the covers off the table and chairs, sweep or blow the acorns and leaves off the cement, and skim and vacuum the pool. Once that was all done I’d spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun. It was our little tradition, and it went on for years. Probably until I got a job. It was such an amazing time in my young life. I got to spend hours with my grandparents multiple times a week. Who can say that?! Anyway, like that time with my grandparents by the pool, finally sharing this tradition of stewing tomatoes with my Gramma was so special.

Dancing around and goofing off!

Jamma and I showed up just before 11am and we sat and talked with Gramma and Papa for a while. Papa eventually left, my mom showed up, and it was the four of us ladies and a bushel o’ ‘maters. Gramma gave us our jobs and we were off to the races. This was a multifaceted gig so we all had multiple jobs. Chop the veggies, throw them through the food processor, blanch and chop the tomatoes, throw them in the pot to cook. Then comes the canning process. Once we got the hang of it, we were like an assembly line, all four of us getting in the groove of making the stewed tomatoes. The kitchen was full of the spicy smell of stewing vegetables, hot from the steam, and full of exhilarating conversation. These were moments I’d never forget. In moments like those, I try to slow down and cherish what I’m doing, for time is fleeting. I like to take a deep breath and remember everything. What I smell, see, hear, feel. I ground myself, like we learned how to do last week, and really pay close attention to what’s going on around me. I’m completely immersed because I know one day I won’t have these moments. Eventually, my grandparents will transcend their bodies and their spirits will move from one life journey to the next and I’ll be left with their wonderful memories. I’ll remember the days by the pool, picking in the garden, making fresh salsa, and now making stewed tomatoes. Moments like these are such a blessing.

Not only did I get to share this with my Gramma, I got to share it with my mom and one of my best friends. Jamma had never met Gramma before, and it was love at first sight. After we left, Jamma told me how much fun she had and how my Gramma reminded her of her late Grandma Norah. It was so touching to hear that. I know what it means to have an amazing grandmother, and I know what it means to lose one. I’m so grateful I was able to share my Gramma with Jamma. Their connection was organic and beautiful. I was also grateful to be able to spend time with my mom. She’s now retired from teaching and able to spend more time doing what’s healthy for her. Now this is a tradition the two of us can share with each other, as well!

I had such a fun time learning how to make and can stewed tomatoes. It was something I’d never done before and have always wanted to do. What family traditions do you have? Who do you share them with? We can’t wait to hear about all the fun stuff you like to do with your family!

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post. It was a very special one for me. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

With light and love,

Kay 💛

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