My older sister, who's hands down one of the greatest mothers I know, told me years ago that she was intentional about not showing annoyance when doing my niece’s hair. Her reasoning was simple: viewing our hair as a burden is a learned behavior she had no interest in passing on.
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I've chosen traditions for my family that weren't practiced in the house I spent my teenage years. My parents chose not to participate in yesterday's Kwanzaa activity and feigned ignorance regarding the meaning behind the holiday. While I recognize that the unfamiliar is uncomfortable, it's a source of pride to know my younger siblings are receptive. To know that I'm a peer to some of them, but they're no less willing to let me lead.
I see now, more than ever, what my grandmother sought to do in giving me a holiday rooted in my personal experiences. She was championing the God I only thought I worshipped by exalting Him, and only Him, on Christmas Day. She was also planting roots of heritage and self-celebration by adding Kwanzaa to our holiday roster. She was creating a tradition I could take pride in and affirming that these two holidays didn't have to be mutually exclusive.