Traditions: A Very Special Christmas Eve Dinner
A Mother's Love on Christmas Eve
Our family has, what is perhaps a strange tradition for Christmas Eve Dinner in the South. Spaghetti! And to expound upon that a bit, it is not just any Spaghetti, but the food that saved my life! And it is quite an unusual version!
I know, you are probably thinking, what? How can spaghetti save someone's life? The story goes like this:
When I was a baby, I had severe stomach problems. I was unable to keep anything down and they assumed that I had a milk allergy. The doctors placed me on Sobee, which is a soy milk product. Keep in mind that way back then, few people even knew what soy milk was, much less would choose to feed it to their infant child. However, my mother did as she was told and fed me Sobee.
She said that I struggled to survive, even on soy milk. When I was old enough to eat table food, she assumed that this would most certainly be the answer, however, it was not. I continued to struggle and she seriously feared that I was going to wither away into nothingness. In desperation, she put out a call to everyone that she knew, crying out for help.
She received many suggestions, and tried many things, all to no avail! She was truly at her wits end when she walked to the mailbox one day. A neighbor, who lived across the street was also gathering her mail and struck up a conversation with my weary mother.
Mom spilled her heart out and told her what a struggle she was having trying to find a solution to keep me healthy. Although the neighbor's children were grown and out of the house, she had a suggestion for my mom to try. Spaghetti!
She rushed back to her house, wrote down the recipe and delivered it to the door. She said: "I know you are going to think this is crazy, but my son had a similar problem and this Spaghetti saved his life. Give it a try and and I'll be praying for a miracle."
My mom whipped up a batch of the Spaghetti, fed it to me and low and behold, it worked. She said I ate it like there was no tomorrow and was the happiest child she had ever seen. From that moment forward, she made it practically every single day and I thrived. I literally lived on this unique and wonderful dish for a couple of years.
Even as I grew older and stronger, we had the special Spaghetti at least once a week. By this time, the entire family was in love with it She decided that this would be our Christmas Eve meal from that moment on, her way of showing gratitude, to the little neighbor across the street and to God. It became a much treasured family tradition.
After my brother married and had children of his own, she continued to make the dish every Christmas Eve for the family. His children came to love it and always begged for Mawmaw's spaghetti. Another generation had been introduced to the miracle food!
Unfortunately, in 1993, I lost my grandmother and mother on June 12th and June 13th respectively. Neither had been sick, it was something we were not expecting and was a crushing blow to everyone. But we chose, as a family to carry on this tradition that saved MY life.
So every Christmas Eve, my sweet Sister-in-Law has carried the torch and faithfully made Mawmaw's Spaghetti for her children and their children and really for us all. It is to honor my mother and her memory and how special she was to each and every one of us.
I agree, it is not your typical Southern Christmas Eve dinner, but it is a tradition that is so very special to me and to my family. When you think of it, isn't that what Christmas tradition is really all about?
Do you have any special Christmas traditions that your family holds dear? Please share them with me below in the comments. I look forward to hearing about your beautiful memories!
Until next time...Godspeed.
Cover photo: Bunny Williams for Ballard Designs