This post comes as an inspiration from one of my Reeders. We were talking about traditions, and this is what came to mind.
Traditions. They come in many forms. From the whole family being together on Christmas or Fourth of July or any other important holiday to enjoying a family game night every Saturday night, traditions are different for each family. Some families have the kind of traditions that are passed on to family members through generations, but often there are small traditions within a small unit of family that may only be followed while the family is together. My family was a lot like the latter.
Within my family we have a small unit of three: my dad, younger sister and myself. We have mini traditions for various activities that some may not even consider traditions. But, by definition, any continuing pattern, method or something handed down qualifies, and we had something for everything.
There was a traditional order to getting our every day Saturdays started. We would wake, eat, dress and be off to Disneyland that was only 15 minutes away from our house. Once we entered Disneyland, the tradition would continue as we raced each other down Main Street, one person running in front of the other and so on. Next we would eat chunks of beef on sticks called Bengal Beef: lemonade for me and soda for them. The tradition would then end by enjoying the first ride at Indiana Jones, bouncing around and enjoying the ride was always the way we started our day. From there it was fair game.
We always ended our day of Disneyland with a large, hand-tossed, half cheese, half pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. Our entertainment was Hercules and Xena, each an hour long. Then it was time to end the day. We did this every Saturday for more than three years before I entered high school in 1999.
My father had writers block for almost a decade, so I thought of a plan to get him out of it. I told my dad that once a week we would meet to discuss our stories. He had his fantasy works, and I had my sci-fi. We each would take turns to talk about our stories until we were done while adding feedback as we went. There is only one rule to Workshop. Each of us had to talk about something new. Whether a name, a place, a thought or just a semi-formed sentence. Just one new thing.
Three years and one month later, the tradition is still carried on. My father has completed the book he started over 12 years ago and is working on his second.
Other Small Traditions
There is a traditional egg race to the bottom of the deep end of the pool in Palm Springs, where all of our Easters are held.
Sister Day—where we do what sisters do best together: enjoy each other’s company—is the Monday after Easter.
New friends or other members inducted into the family are given a cow cup with a cow that is hidden in the middle of the cup by the drink. Depending on their reaction to see eyes eventually looking up at them will also determine their sense of humor.
I believe that these small traditions made our family what it was. We enjoyed looking forward to Disney and egg diving and all other events that would come up as the years passed. Traditions are more fun than routine as they become a definition of a family unit. Sure there can be big traditions, but the small ones are the unique ones and bring a family together.
Enjoy. And Reed.