I’m proud to admit that when I married my husband, I gained a second family. No, not outlaws, and much more than in-laws…truly a second family! This Irish clan of about 30, hold firmly to their traditions. Whether birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or other rites of passage, the Harrisons embrace these occasions with the utmost commitment and solidarity. Now that I am a Harrison I delightedly participate in these festivities.
One convention that I have come to cherish is when each family member creates a memorable anecdote to read out loud to a certain sibling turning 50. It can be prose, although poetry is preferred; mushy sentiment is endearing but comical wit is better remembered. Though if you can pull it off by inducing tears and at the same time provoke a knee slapping frenzy, then all the power to you! You’ll have entered the Harrison Hall of Fame!
The custom started with my mother and father- in-law’s 50th anniversary in which a lovely dedication was written by their children to honor their parent’s commitment to raising a family. Since that celebratory time, the act of composing and reciting some amusing words of nostalgia for that person turning 50, became a habit. Although not all of us possess a gift for crafting words, nevertheless, we manage to convey the love in our hearts through recounting those pivotal events we best remember the guest of honor by. I relish this recurring practice and I recommend it to all families especially in these modern times when geographical distance and demanding careers keep us apart for long periods. I am proud to be part of a family that values real closeness by remaining loyal to a ritual. Besides, it’s fun to show off my poetic prowess on occasion, especially when the occasion is family.