Traditions are a critical part of life. They can be part of our family, religion or career field and cover anything from the clothes we wear to the food we cook to the things we say.
My family didn’t really have a lot of traditions when I was growing up. However, the great thing is, I have been able to find and create my own over the years.
When my kids were young, we moved a lot due to the military. That was hard for the kids. (Heck, that was hard for me too.) Changing schools (or jobs for me) and friends every few years takes a toll. Adjusting to new places was always a challenge. Therefore, I tried to make our home consistent. Of course, I didn’t really have a strategic plan to do it. I just felt the need to. Doing certain things during the year, became regular, like little customs. Those things grew over the years and seemed to offer us a sense of comfort, which is exactly why traditions are important, according to Susan Lieberman. “Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.” In hindsight, that makes sense. I just can’t say I had a thought-out plan back then, I just did it. Funny how we just naturally do things that it can so easily be explained by complete strangers.
It all makes sense though. Out of confusion and change, I sought comfort by creating regularity. Of course, our traditions grew and changed over the years and varied depending on the ages of the kids and the time of the year, but overall, there were regular events.
Spring would always bring my home flowers.
Summer demanded some kind of trip, even if just for a weekend.
Fall required pumpkin carving and pie making.
Christmas would not be Christmas without hard-rock candy and no bake cookies.
All of these little things brought us stability in our hectic crazy world, and gave us wonderful memories. Well, I know they did for me, I suppose only time will tell with my kids though. Since they are both still in high school and college, it may take time for me to find out just what their fondest memories are. However, I do know a bunch of them now, and as time passes, we will make more.
And, with them expanding their wings, it means my personal traditions will have to be tweaked too. I may not have any little ones to cook for each day anymore, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t cook and bake. I just may need to do it in smaller quantities (or need to share with coworkers). And, as I rediscover myself in this stage of my life, I find that I am making new traditions just for me. For example, for the last few years, my fall traditions have included Octoberfest festivities, a half marathon and some kayaking.
Not all my new traditions are big either. One of my simplest and favorite traditions is getting sushi when I go to the commissary (military grocery store). Nearly every time, every visit, I get that snack and it just give me a sense of calm. (And it is just frankly good sushi!)
Overall, I think these traditions gave me a sense of peace. They brought me joy, something to look forward to regardless of any stress happening then. They were, and remain, little reminders that my life is in order. I am ok. And all is right in the world, at least my little part of it anyway.
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