Welcome back from the weekend! I hope it was a great one. We enjoyed a really wonderful Friday night with neighbors and then watched our son rock his TaeKwanDo tournament. It’s amazing how much your heart bursts when your child is putting themselves out there to be judged. I wanted to run out on to the mat and squeeze his cute cheeks. I restrained. But the weekend (and talking about our family albums) really has me feeling nostalgic. Our family started talking about all of our favorite traditions and it prompted me to share them with all of you. I firmly believe that a life rooted in tradition gives children a firm sense of who they are and a foundation for cherishing time with family. I am sharing five of our family traditions. They may not be earth shattering or quite that imaginative, but they are the bricks on which our home and family life are being built.
Back to School Rainbow Cake
Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that each year to mark the first day of school, we eat rainbow cake. The kids and I make the cake on the last day of summer and without fail, the excitement over doing so never seems to wane.
Part of the tradition is these two choosing which colors they will get to make. I let them work it out and some years are smoother than others. But the idea that it’s a giant cake seems to steer them in a peaceful direction. And to those that have asked, I don’t use a special recipe. We back straight from the box (two boxes to be exact) and make five or six round cakes. I just divide it evenly into bowls so we can add the color.
We love to celebrate them beginning a fresh school year, making new friends and being brave when it’s not always easy. This photo was a candid one taken when my husband was looking for candles to put in it. We had just finished dinner and the anticipation of cutting into the cake was all over their faces. This year, my daughter told me she can’t wait to make this cake with her children on the first day of school. Sigh.
This one is big in our home. We eat dinner together each and every night. I know that we are lucky that our schedules permit that, but we also work like crazy to make sure that they do. I grew up eating dinner around the table as a family every night and saw such value in that. The kids already feel it and if one of us is out-of-town or if we are away as a family, there is always this sense of calm when we sit back down for our next family dinner together. This is when we talk about our days. We share the high and the low point and we just enjoy each other’s company. It’s a nice time for the kids to open up about things going on at school or socially. We always like for them to know that they can tell us anything and this often where that occurs. (You can check out my easy recipe ideas here).
Fourth of July Run
Each year our neighborhood hosts a huge Fourth of July celebration and we always participate in the morning run. It’s so much fun to get out there as a family doing something healthy and seeing such a strong sense of community. Each year my daughter is a little up in the air about participating and inevitably she is so happy with herself when she finishes the run. Another little life lesson tucked in there and we always cap the morning with a pancake breakfast. We are hoping to run the longer races as they get older (although someone may have to carry me across the finish line. A runner I am not).
Summer Getaway with Friends
For the last five summers we have traveled to Big Bear Lake with two other families. It doesn’t matter how much time we have spent with these families during the year, the trip is always magical and so great for everyone. The children have all grown up together and they look forward to this trip every year. This is the trip we always document with a photo album each year. I think that children thrive knowing they have a community of adults around them that they can trust. They also look forward to this time of year and spending time with friends they have known forever. And we don’t spend a lot of money. We never even really leave the cabin except for time on the water and the dock. It’s good fresh air fun and we savor every second of it.
Listen. I know my days are numbered with this one. And you are probably thinking why the heck is this a tradition? Well, each year the kiddos get Christmas PJ’s and they are always striped. There is just something about children in striped pajamas that makes my heart happy. And while this one may be more for me, the kids really do love them and it just wouldn’t be the holidays without these two running around in stripes. I wonder how they will feel about it when they are 14 and 16. Hmmm. I choose to live in the now and not worry about that yet! Stripes forever.
What are your family traditions? What is the glue that connects your years? I would love to hear what you all look forward to. And I think that is such a major component about relishing family traditions. It gives us all something to look forward to. And it gives us that sense of comfort that despite the craziness of life, the hurt, the disappointment, the ups, the downs. . .that consistency and stability exist. There are certain things we can count on. And don’t we all like to know we can count on something. There is great peace and comfort in that.