Family traditions are a thing for a lot of families. Even before I got married, when I used to daydream about one day having my own family, I wanted to have traditions with my husband and kids one day. Well, when the husband and I got married, we started our traditions, then when the kid was born, more traditions were added, but then all that came to a halt when the husband passed away.
I did not give up on traditions though, and it seems my kid likes our traditions. One of those has been celebrating non-birthdays with a cupcake and a candle, the whole Christmas thing, going to pumpkin patches and hay rides every year, our birthdays, building Legos together, getting whole Hot Wheels collections, the Easter bunny picture, and other stuff we do together, it seems like my kid wants to keep doing this with me. This is the best part if you ask me.
So the husband liked Halloween. Before we started dating, he was dating this woman who didn’t pass out the candy he had bought for kids. He was pretty ticked off about it. Anyways, our kid was born after Halloween, but guess what we did the following year? I found this beautiful pumpkin outfit at Pottery Barn, we dressed the kid up and we took him around the neighborhood. Our little pumpkin kid was quite the success, and an awesome memory.
Our first Christmas, we got the tree husband had bought back in 1999 at Kmart, an Aspen pre-lit Christmas tree that had a revolving base. I didn’t even know that revolving bases existed. It was awesome to put all our new ornaments on the tree, and see it go around and around. Last year both the tree and the base decided to quit working on us, so this year we’re setting up a new Christmas tree on a new revolving base with all the Christmas ornaments the kid and I have been collecting every single year. The best part? The kid is really excited about the ornaments and the lights, and is looking forward to setting the tree up with me already.
One thing I thought it was crucial in keeping our lives as sane as possible after the husband passed away, was to keep our routines, keep structured routines. I read somewhere kids thrived when they had a routine, and in the midst of the craziness we were in, routine and structure was what my kid needed and that’s exactly what I wanted to provide for him. So we did the same things every day, and I would tell him what we would do ahead of time. Knowing what was coming up ahead help my kid know what to expect, something to make him feel safe.
There is one routine, a tradition if you will, something the kid and I started a little over 4 years ago. We had been praying for God to help us find a home church. God answered our prayers and led us to a church where both the kid and I have been really blessed with. One day before church, we made a stop at the IHOP across the freeway from church. We did it again the next Sunday, and the next, and we’re still doing it. We have our favorite table, and our favorite waitresses, and our favorite food, and they don’t even have to ask us anymore and we have even made friends with other customers.
We take selfies every Sunday morning and share them on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and it’s become a thing people look forward to see from us. The kid just started to whine about the selfies, “I don’t want to take a picture!”, “kid, get your butt here and smile, and smile nicely!” The kid would make a few sad faces, then he smiles the way I love, then he goes silly. We then wait for our food, then off to church we go.
This is our Sunday thing. The pictures we get, the breakfast we get, our time there with our friends, then going to church, the kid helping the greeters and saving seats for our elderly lady friends. This is our tradition, and I hope we keep doing it for many, many years. It’s really matters to me, but I believe it’s important for the kid to have something to look forward to, something he can continue one day with his own family.
I know our traditions will change, and I know we’ll add some or stop some others as time passes. I know the kid will eventually refuse to take pictures with me (queue the sad face), but I’ll take what I can get for now. I believe in my heart that having these routines and traditions with my kid help strengthen our special bond, but I also believe that one day he’ll look back and remember the times his mama was there with him doing something together, having a great time, laughing, and making beautiful memories.