Wednesday, September 10, 2008

happy trails, Meg...

Several years ago, I subscribed to an e-letter about family traditions, written by Meg Cox. She offered tips and suggestions on creating rituals to inspire memories and build family. She covered all sorts of traditions, from holidays to dentist visits to the death of a family pet. Her words always reminded me how important family is and they made me appreciate my husband and boys. Although delivery of the e-letter was sporadic, I was always excited to see her emails pop up in my inbox.

One family ritual we have is to ask everyone at the dinner table about their day. Question 1 is "what was the worse part of your day?" and question 2 is "what was the best part of your day?" We learn a lot about each other based on those answers and it's one way we've taught our kids to open up to us. Asking Nicklas how his day was generates nothing more than one-word answers. But answering the worst and best part of his day questions provide him the opportunity to really think and review what happened in his life since waking up that morning. Answers to those questions often lead to lengthy conversations and opportune bonding for the four of us (and any dinner guests we may have!).

Rituals can be simple - special kisses for the kids at bedtime, watching the same tv show together every week. I love to hear about other family rituals. I have one friend who lets her kids open up one present every Christmas Eve. She picks the present they can open and it's always new pajamas which the kids wear to bed that night. When my kids spend the night at their grandparents, they always "snore" at bedtime and their Papa has to yell, "there's no snoring in this house!" That leads to fits of giggles from everyone. When I was growing up, there was a period of time when my mom worked weekends. Rather than cook, my dad would always take us out to eat at Ponderosa. We could count on that every Sunday night. There was some comfort in having that routine and I'll always remember that. Or in the summer when we spent the weekend at my grandparents lake house - on the way home, we would always stop for ice cream. I would get bubblegum and my brother would get Superman flavor. I have several other rituals I remember from growing up and I'm hoping to create traditions my children will remember fondly.

Meg sent her last e-newsletter today. Her words made an impact on me and her love of rituals has been passed on to me. I hope you take some time to think about the rituals you've created in your life. And if you're so inclined, please feel free to share them with me.

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