Building new traditions from lost moments

Angela Ide, Opinions Editor

Illustration by Gabrialla Cockerell

Between distanced pumpkin patch visits, virtual costume parties on Halloween, and the table setting and food preparations for Thanksgiving, sits a pivotal moment in American history which has the potential of souring already strained family relationships; the presidential election of 2020.

No matter who you shared quarantine with, Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season are going to be laced with a new type of tension.

For Washingtonians, that might look like passive-aggressive comments about sex education referendums, floating over plates filled with turkey and mashed potatoes. Or maybe blatant comments about Inslee’s “tyrannical” reign will rise along with the rolls as they are passed.

Thanksgiving and other community-focused holidays might be weeks and months away, but now is the time to start making plans and intentionally deciding how you are going to handle these tensions before you are faced with them.

The experience of having to choose between opinions, values, and relationships is one that everyone has to face at one point or another. And if the relationships are worth maintaining, then we each need to find ways to work through the conflicts.

So as countless awkward silences creep over the unspeakable topics like presidential elections, propositions, and referendums that divide rooms and tables, let us take a second to pause.

Together, as a nation and a world, we have endured excruciating loneliness and isolation in the name of our loved ones; so let’s build off of that loving sacrifice. Families gather virtually and safely to celebrate the love and care we have shown each other, so let our words and our conversations be the best example of that.

Give thanks for the moments where family members have stood beside you amid uncertainty and fear. Laugh about all the ridiculous twists and turns this year has taken, and the wild plans we thought were so set in stone. Cherish the little ways we’ve shown each other love and care throughout the year.

And when necessary, lovingly and gently push family members to reconsider why they are afraid and intimidated by people who are different than themselves.

We don’t have to choose between our families and our opinions, values, and votes. We can build new foundations for our oldest relationships by setting aside hurts and speaking truths in the name of love.

In a world full of division and a year of separation like none other, the healing touch of community and love can light the holiday season like never before.

For those like me, who have fought this fight for many years with little change, maybe choosing to take a break this holiday season to plant roots and make our own traditions is the most loving choice we can make. Maybe your roommate and their family are kind enough to offer you a place at the table or you have a chance to set your own dinner table and hold a Friends-giving.

One way or another, real relationships and our loved ones should celebrate the growth and changes we have made it through together, no matter who they may be.

This is a year where connection, support, and unconditional love are in greater need than years past, so let us do whatever it takes to live fully and love completely. Whether you need to do that for yourself or for your loved ones, now is time to make a new tradition.

Hopefully, next year everyone will be able to physically sit across the same table without fear of endangering the health of everyone or their differing opinions – with the lessons we have learned about setting aside our differences – we will no longer have to fear the political explosion that comes every November.