One morning this week, as I stood at the stove making omelets, my seventeen-year-old daughter appeared in the kitchen, grabbed me in a big bear hug and gave me a kiss on my cheek.  She didn’t say a thing.  After she’d kissed me she smiled and went back to her room to finish getting ready for school.  Of course, as a mother, I was pleased with this unexpected show of affection, but I also found myself wondering what brought it on. 

I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  I’d opened all the blinds and a few windows to catch the morning breeze, lit a scented candle, set out dishes, and was making breakfast (only one of my omelets turned out picture perfect).  Things I do every morning.  Was this enough to earn such an enthusiastic greeting?

As I reflected on it later that day, I remembered a magazine article I had recently read about family traditions and rituals.  I hadn’t really thought about it, but my morning ritual of opening blinds and windows (turning on the fireplace in the winter time), lighting candles, and making sure something is ready for breakfast, even if it is just cold cereal, is kind of like a tradition.  I do it every morning.  My family knows they can count on me “waking the house” in this manner every single day.  From the perspective of a kid, this type of tradition might be comforting because it is a constant, it is stable.  For our house it is normal.  

I started to list in my mind all the family traditions and rituals that are a part of my life.  The second Sunday of every month my mom has dinner at her house for the entire family, the annual Halloween party and Christmas party at my mom’s house are traditions, it is a tradition for me, my mom, and my sisters to get together annually in Phoenix, in our little blended family we have certain birthday rituals and we stuff stockings for each other at Christmas, we make Sunday a day for worship and family only, we make Monday evenings “Family Home Evening” and spend the night as a family, Hub’s family has a family reunion every summer, there are certain weekends during the summer and fall that we go to the family cabin, I always bake cookies on the first day of school, we pray as a family before every meal and before we retire for the night, the stupid dog thinks he needs to go every morning when Hub takes Yawlin to school.  Our lives are full of rituals and traditions.

Some traditions have been in place for years, others started more recently simply because we did them once and decided we liked them so we will continue.  Traditions and positive family rituals can be the glue that holds families together.   Sweet memories are created by participating in traditions.  Cheryl C. Lant recently stated in an article titled, “Righteous Traditions” (Ensign, May 2008, pg. 13), “The most important traditions are connected with the way we live our lives and will last beyond us as our children’s lives are influenced and shaped.”  

I don’t know whether or not my daughter was showing me her gratitude for my morning ritual when she hugged and kissed me.  Most likely she was prepping me so she can ask for something big.  🙂  But, when I hear my step kids say thanks for the breakfast I have served, or my own kids tease me by blowing out my candle, or Hub walks up behind and gives me a hug, I do know I am glad that I have established this morning tradition for my family.

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I would be interested in hearing of any family traditions and rituals others have.  I just may incorporate them into my own family life.  Please share, if you desire.  And thanks!

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