It's easy to have holiday traditions. Something about a specific calender date or event that lends itself to ritual. Families eating the same type of meal year after year or buying a commerative gift. The littlest one presenting the oldest with a token gift. New Year's Eve customs. Predictable events surrounding a birthday. My family is no different.
But tradition ought to transcend the holidays. My parents did this, whether they realized it or not. My mother was never big on homemade soups, but she did have one - the most amazing beef-barley vegetable soup. She'd make it every year around the time frost started showing up in the mornings. And she'd make it every time we were sick. She swore the vitamin rich broth would cure us. Perhaps it did. This year I tried my own hand at it. The familiar smells filled my nose and I felt like a girl again. I've made the soup twice so far.
In the summer it was tomato sauce. My mother always had a garden and she always grew tomatoes. At the end of each season she'd make huge batches of sauce and can it. I've been doing it myself for two years now. This year Logan helped me. He delighted in his ability to squash dozens of red juicy fruits in the food processor.
My father got in on the act too. When I was reading picture books on my own my parents would buy a child friendly novel. My dad would read me a chapter a night. It's how I got through Wind and the Willows and Alice in Wonderland. I still have those books. I cherish the memories of my father stretched out on my twin bed makign different voices for each character. My son and husband are in the middle of "Charlotte's Web" right now.
I think about the way my son helps me bake now. How he pulls his chair over to the counter and scrambles up. I can imagine some day he'll watch his own child flip the switch on the mixer and he'll smile thinking about cozy afternoons in a kitchen warmed by the oven. I think about the way he'll reach for a screwdriver one day and he'll remember helping his father and grandfather fix whatever needs their attention.
I think about my daughter. I imagine she'll hear certain songs on the radio and she'll think about the way she'd dance with her Daddy to them. I imagine she'll smooth her child's hair in place and remember the way she'd sit cuddled with me in the big chair reading books or singing softly.
It makes me wonder what other traditions or family memories other's have. What passes through your day and makes you smile thinking about your childhood? What do you want your child to remember?