I’ve come to believe that having traditions or the “we always did_________” is probably one of the most important things a mother can do for her children and family. I can’t think of a better way to be remembered than by the children looking forward to or looking back on special traditions that mama keeps or the tradtitions she kept.
As we look forward to special events in our lives, we are most often thinking of how *we* like them or how *we* see them but I think it’s important to remember how *others* will like them or others will experience them. For example, sometimes when I think of my birthday, anniversary or some other special event I’m looking forward to, I have an idea how I think it ought to go or how the time ought to be spent. But in recent years, I’ve attempted to see the events differently or to see them through the eyes of my children.
So, using my birthday as an example, I’ll share that I’ve so enjoyed spending the time the way my family wants to spend the time instead of having an expectation or a set plan. I think we miss so many blessings when we allow ourselves to be self-absorbed or too self focused with our preconceived ideas. When we think of others and their desire to do things for us, then we experience love or celebrations in a whole new way and, I must say, disappointments are rare when you allow things to be more flexible and not are not so self centered. This necessarily means, though, that you have to decide to lay aside expectations and personal “rights” because if you don’t you’ll likely never be satisfied and will probably always experience a bit of disappointment.
So, what about family traditions and is it too much to attempt to create and maintain them? Well, it is a lot of work to create and more work to maintain traditions (especially when there are lots of heavy family responsibilities). Many people think that it’s too hard to establish and maintain traditions when there are so many little babies coming along or when one had so many young children. But, the longer I live, the more I realize that every age is a busy age. There’s no particular age or phase of mothering that’s not busy. Really. Moms of many young children would likely argue the point, but, truly, all ages are busy and all ages require lots of work, attention and effort—especially if you’re working at making each day count—if you’re living with tomorrow’s results or the consequences of today’s choices in mind.
At any age it’s work to create and maintain traditions, but as with anything, the more you do them the easier they become and you’ll likely be less elaborate some years than you are other years regarding the carrying out of some traditions. Traditions are sort of like mile markers, they’re sort of like monuments to things that happen in your family. Each year you go to some place or celebrate some thing, you have an opportunity to look around and evaluate the previous time or the previous twelve months or whatever. You have a chance to look back and remember – thus, the celebration becomes not only a commemoration of that specific day but of all the other times that event was celebrated, too. You have an opportunity to look back at pictures of that same event (birthdays, anniversaries or family holidays, for example).
If your family likes to camp, then the tradition of camping or camping memories are permanently etched in their minds. If your family likes to have a special breakfast every Saturday morning, then when the children are grown and establishing traditions in their homes, whenever they “copy” the same thing, their minds will flood with memories and they’ll pass them on to their children. Traditions.
We always ______________.”
The funny thing about children and traditions is that no matter if something happened one time or many times, in most children’s minds, a happy event permanently becomes one of the “We always did’s.” Our children have frequently said through the years, remember how we always did that_____? and one of the olders will smile with me and say, “Yes, we always did that, one time.” ~smile~
But some things we do, we do as often as possible, or annually or with some bit of consistency. At our house, we celebrate half-birthday’s. Now, there are times when a child’s half-birthday comes and goes with no notice, but for the most part we do celebrate the half birthdays with a decorated half cake and we sing a rousing round of “Halfy-Birthday” to whoever we’re celebrating. Younger children always wish half-birthdays included presents and parties, but we tell them this is just a foretaste of the birthday to come.
Mother’s Day is coming up this week and a tradition I have been enjoying for several years now is the tradition of giving gifts to each one of our children. I try and find a “Mama knows you need this____” gift for each of the children (O, and my husband, too!). I initially did it to help the youngers not feel so badly early Sunday morning on Mother’s Day… too late to go get something—too much going on to make something, and too pressed to sit down and write something, so I just began this little tradition to ease their minds.
Now, they do wonderful things for me and they make or buy things and cook a special meal, but I just want them to know that they are my gifts, they are my treasures and they are what I celebrate on Mother’s Day. It’s been sweet and a happy tradition, too. For all of us. It’s one of those: “we always got presents on Mother’s Day” memories!