August 31. Sheesh. Writing this blogpost has been on a sticky note on the kitchen counter for a solid week (or more) now, and here I am, more common than not in these monthly posts, waiting until the absolute last minute. One of my posts perhaps should be advice not to procrastinate...
This month has been BUSY... I feel like I blinked, and it is Labor Day weekend. You started school (WHAT?) and you love it. You mastered bike riding, and we've instated a new rule: no more baths. You get too dirty, being outside and living your life, that next month, showers only. You continue to amaze us, daily, with your intelligence, humor, and easy-going attitude. We sure love you!
And as we start the fall season tomorrow, wrapping up summer with Labor Day this weekend, I wanted to tell you the importance of traditions.
Yep. Advice 8 to you: make new traditions. And, when possible, keep those old traditions.
It almost feels.... hypocritical for me to tell you to make and *keep* traditions. (We'll focus on that *keeping* traditions in a few paragraphs.)
Papa and I are uniquely happy to live our life pretty quietly, with minimal everything. Minimal stuff, minimal relationships, you name it, we skimp. We don't need nice furniture (current status of our couch: 12+ years old), and we don't need huge family get-togethers to make our holidays feel complete. We need each other, YOU, and good food, usually. But we want you to have traditions, because we both had them growing up, and have memories (fond, and not so fond) of our childhood traditions.
So, we have our own traditions, that we've done before you, and now do with you. Coffee dates. Chalk drawings. Taco Monday. Breakfast dates. Pumpkin patches. Bowling. Decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Chinese food on Christmas Eve. Family arts/crafts/construction days. Family bike rides. Exploring new places. T R A D I T I O N S.
WHY is this important? And WHY don't we follow all traditions from our childhood?
For us, traditions are an avenue for creating lasting memories. Papa and I will ALWAYS remember pumpkin patches with you, and often fondly remember early coffee dates, when you couldn't even walk. We want you to have those memories also, whether or not you drink coffee as an adult, or whether or not you celebrate Halloween at all with kids you may have one day. You'll smell coffee, and remember (hopefully in a good way) our family coffee dates. You'll see pumpkins, and remember days of perusing the patch for the perfect one.
Traditions are also a way to reflect on growth. We look back and see photos, and the change in you (and ourselves) as the years have passed. As adults, Papa and I think back on prior times, reflecting on who we were, who we are now, and who we may evolve to be as time continues. It is a way to pause, be grateful, realize change is a part of life, and continue growth.
Change. A part of life. The word tradition, well, traditionally, evokes the thought of "same" or "repeated events" and it doesn't have to be that way. Let me say that again.
Tradition does not have to be the same event or activity, repeated year after year.
Traditions offer connections and ways to build memories. But if you miss a year, modify it. Or remember WHY you missed it. We may not do our traditional thanksgiving that Mama and Papa love, but in place of it may be a more meaningful, memorable time spent with family and friends. We may have missed building the twisted gingerbread house in 2018, but in place of it, we got to attend the Nelson Christmas Party, and that came with a special set of memories all of its own. Or if you stop a tradition all together, that is OK too. If you don't like a particular tradition, communicate that and find a way to make both yourself and the others involved satisfied. When you branch out to create your own traditions, others may feel disappointed, confused, and sad, but that is mostly because they'll be missing your beautiful soul. Because traditions make memories, family/friends from an old tradition will miss you in their memory. Compromise and find a way to include them with a new memory.
Conclusion? Make new traditions. Keep the old traditions that make your heart happy. And take photos of every single time that tradition happens! Reflect often, and remember always.
Cheers kiddo. Cheers to a fall and winter of new traditions in California!