Rituals ,holidays and family traditions are what help make our families unique. These are the events that happen pretty much no matter what. They are the moments we can rely on, the occasions we can rejoice in and the times that help keep everything stable and predictable.
Rituals can be daily or weekly happenings such as saying ‘I love you’ each night before bed, reading a bedtime story, having a Sunday roast together, pizza on Friday nights or going to the footy each week. They can also be annual events such as holidays, celebrations or regular ways to commemorate occasions like birthdays, Easter, Christmas or summer holidays.
Growing up I was so privileged to have many rituals and family traditions that are certainly my strongest memories of childhood. They are the times I felt secure, surrounded by people that loved and cared for me, but also the times that made life predictable yet still exciting. When I think about the childhood I am helping to create for my boys, I know also that many of their greatest memories will be of the family rituals and traditions that we have both consciously and sub-consciously created. Creating wonderful childhood memories can also be particularly helpful during challenging times or times of grief. It is these times that they can call on when they need to be reminded of the joys that life has to offer. These are the memories that will help remind them to pull themselves up again when life threatens to keep them down.
We have been lucky enough to be able to take our kids on some great holidays as a family but also with extended family of grandparents and cousins. These times have allowed these relationships and bonds to develop in a very special way, free from the stresses, challenges, commitments and responsibilities of everyday life. But rituals, holidays and family traditions don’t have to be about going on big expensive holidays. (certainly nice, but not essential). It can be camping in tents on the foreshore each summer holidays. It can be about an Easter Egg hunt in the back yard each Easter Sunday. It can be visiting friends in the country each long weekend in March. It can be singing Christmas Carols to the neighbours in the street on Christmas Eve (yes one of my all time greatest childhood memories!).
As I prepare to pack the bags for our annual Easter holidays to the beautiful scenery of the Grampians, I know that this is another wonderful chapter in creating more great memories for my children, and certainly for us as parents too. I will have to remind my mum however not to put the chocolate eggs for the Easter egg hunt out the night before this year in order to avoid getting up before all the kids! The possums and kangaroos had a fabulous feast early Easter Sunday!
What are some family rituals and traditions you grew up with, and what are the ones you are creating for your family now?
Below is a picture of my childhood favourite, singing Christmas Carols to the neighbours with all the kids in the street, and a picture of my boys and their cousins and friends celebrating the completion of the cubby house at Halls Gap, Easter 2010.