Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Family Traditions = Connectedness & Memories

I love traditions. I get giddy thinking about them. Reminiscing on past family traditions and thinking about future ones both set my heart aflutter. I'm not sure what it is about traditions that gets me so googly-eyed. Perhaps its because the sharpest memories I have of my childhood often revolve around traditions. Perhaps its because of the sense of bonding one gets from "their" family traditions.

I had a friend growing up whose family put a glass pickle in their Christmas tree every year. The first kid to find it got an extra present. I always thought it was a funky tradition, but that's the thing about traditions. You can own them. What works for one family might not work for another. Sometimes traditions are passed down from generations, sometimes they are cultural, and sometimes they just happen.

Every year since before I can remember my family would rent a house at the beach for a week. I don't know that it started off as something they intended to make a tradition, but it stuck. (It also seemed to be tradition that somebody always got hurt on the trip, but that's another story). I have many fond memories of our beach house adventures, and hours of reminiscing around the dinner table have ensued. Experiences like these help me feel connected to my family, and help me feel like no matter the time past or the miles separated we will always be a family.

Looking back on my family traditions gives me an extra push to start traditions in the family my husband and I are now growing. I want my kids to someday look back and be able to laugh and roll their eyes at the traditions they grew up with. I want them to get flutters in their tummy when they see Christmas lights because they remember driving around with hot chocolate and blankets looking at them. I want them to light up when they see an explosion of fireworks in the sky as they remember family picnics and barbeques on the 4th of July. I want them to have a desire to thank God for all he provides and go to him when they are dealing with uncertainties in life because they have seen the thankfulness and trust their parents have shown in God.    

What traditions make you sigh a little sigh of contentment? What do you want the future generations in your family to say as they talk over potlucks and campfires? I, for one, want to instill a feeling of being safe, having a blast of a good time, and the knowledge that my family was well-loved and loved well. Here's to traditions, the impressions they leave with us, and the ways they shape us.

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