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Family Traditions

In: Social Issues

Submitted By lillybugg626
Words 678
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Memories That Last a Lifetime…

I’m struggling with family traditions these days. Those little things that were so important to me growing up, that once gave me such great joy just a few years ago are becoming increasingly more difficult to motivate myself to do. As a child I can remember the excitement that each new season brought to me as I anticipated the corresponding event. In the spring we colored Easter eggs, we took a happy meal to park on the first warm (enough) day of the year and I can still remember how it felt to tip my head back towards the sun as I swung back & forth to soak up every once of warmth after such a long winter. In the summer we camped out in the backyard, and couldn’t wait to watch fireworks. The fall brought pumpkin carving, hayrides and haunted houses. Everyone knows what winter brings. Holidays and family gatherings galore. We decorated Christmas cookies, our house smelled of fresh cut pine & tinsel was draped over every surface imaginable. Those family traditions instilled in me a confidence that I carry with me to this day. I’m doing a great disservice to my children by not giving them that same outlet to “check out” and forget for a few hours about the fast paced, non-stop world that we currently live in.

My favorite tradition was started as a joke one snowy Christmas Eve. My aunt Jeanie, the oldest of my mom’s siblings, dared my Aunt Becky, the baby, to leave our annual Christmas party, go to the neighbor’s house and sing a Christmas carol. My Aunt Becky had long since learned that you never back down from a dare from an older sibling, so she accepted. The whole family stood in the front yard and watched as my aunt brazenly rang the neighbor’s door bell and without missing a beat, when they answered, began belting out “Joy To the World”. We all thought the door would be slammed in her face. It was cold, snowy, and everyone has better things to do on Christmas Eve than stand in their doorway listening to some crazy lady sing, right? Wrong. To our surprise the neighbors were delighted and asked the whole family to join in. It was amazing and we spent the rest of the evening arm in arm, walking the snowy streets with chilly, red noses & numb fingers. With each passing year our tradition became more elaborate. We added Santa hats, sleigh bells and candles. Our family tradition slowly became a neighborhood tradition. My sweet Aunt Becky, the one who started it all, recently died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack and the singing has since stopped.
As much as all those seemingly insignificant activities mean to me I struggle to provide those same memories to my own children. Something always comes up. Either we are overscheduled, overworked, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or the kids are misbehaving. And the seasons and years fall off the calendar. My oldest daughter is 12, in her last year of grade school, she won’t be a child for very much longer and I fear my window of opportunity to instill in her those family traditions is rapidly closing. Having gone without celebrating all these rituals for so many years has made their value that much more evident to me.

Fall is now upon us and I’m gearing up for pumpkin everything and trick or treat. I have vowed to myself that I will not let another season slip away without imparting in my children some of the magic from my own childhood. We will go on a hayride, carve pumpkins, eat a crisp caramel apple, drink hot cider and last but not least we will work tirelessly to rake a humongous pile of leaves only to obliterate moments later. Who knows, maybe when the snow falls there will even be singing again. These are the things that make childhood so special and I will not waste another moment of my daughter’s childhood making excuses.…...

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