On Tradition

As I’ve made my way through this 32 weeks of preparation for parenthood, I’ve had to consider a lot of things. You know, like whether or not to breastfeed (I have decided to “just do it”, as Nike would advise), which diapers to use (combo of cloth, while at home and disposable when more convenient),  and whether or not to start looking for a job as soon as possible after Baby L is born (I am still sort of on the fence because I don’t want to work because I don’t want to miss anything that the baby does, like…ever…but, I also want to try and contribute financially until we make the big move). While these are all pretty big things to think about right now, they are all pretty short term. I’ve also had to consider what kind of parent I want to be.

Growing up, I had the benefit (if you would call it that) of having two parents who were absent one way or another. My father has always lived far away (supposedly for his career, though I suspect that the real reason was so that he could continue to be immature and carefree for the eleven months out of the year that he didn’t have to act like he had kids) and my mom was very young when we were growing up and spent the majority of her time much like I spent the majority of MY twenties (read: drunk). I know, this doesn’t sound like much of a benefit but it was…for two reasons:

1. I learned, early on, what kind of parent I did NOT want to be. (Don’t get me wrong, my mom eventually got her shit together and everything, but these are the types of things you remember.) And it makes me glad that this pregnancy happened when I was old enough to appreciate that I had enough fun already to be able to grow up and be a parent.

2. My grandparents lived with us for awhile when we were young and even when they didn’t, they were close by and were possibly the best people who ever walked the earth. I learned a lot about life and kindness and humility from them and feel that I will essentially be able to pass these things on to my daughter.

One of the things, though, that I have been thinking a lot about is tradition. My mom didn’t really have anything to pass down, you know, aside from the usual stuff, like decorating the Christmas tree together on the day after Thanksgiving while listening to Bing Crosby (or one of several mix tapes made by her brother who died when I was 8).  My grandparents, however, had some traditions. Many of them also revolved around holidays and religion, but some that didn’t at all. And I am racking my brain trying to remember what lullaby my grandma would use to sing me to sleep. And what quirky things she made up for random days of the year (like cornflakes and ice cream for breakfast on the Fourth of July* or waving socks at family members who were leaving on trips**). I want to remember these things and make sure that Baby L (even if these things might prove to be uber-embarrassing for her at times) will have those hilarious, quirktastic things to remember about her childhood and to pass down to her kids. Because even though my family embarrassed the bejesus out of me on MANY occasions, I love to think about those times now. Because you never get them back.

I want to bake cookies with her. And teach her to make (and love) lefse the way that my grandma made it. I want to have family dinners and someday build an amazing snowman (or snow-woman) complete with a tophat. I want to sing, “I love you a bushel and a peck…” in my terrible singing voice and I want her not to mind that I sound like a dying cat, but to remember the song and sing it to her kids. And then her grandkids. And I want to make new traditions too. I want for MB and I to create something that is unique to our family and I want to carry it on. It seems so important now, to not just physically make a family, but to emotionally create a FAMILY.

*Every year on July 4th, if we happened to be with my grandma, she would serve us cornflakes, topped with vanilla ice cream and fruit (usually fresh blueberries and strawberries for the red, white and blue effect). This all originated many years ago when she simply just did not have milk for cereal on one Fourth of July. And it stuck. And most of that side of the family still observes the July 4th breakfast!

**When my aunt went off to college, my grandmother was very, very upset and didn’t want to cry in front of everyone. She pleaded with someone in the family to do something to make her laugh. So my father, frantic to find something to take her mind off of crying, took off his sock and started waving it at my aunt as she got in the car. It worked, my grandma didn’t cry and everyone laughed like crazy. Now, if you are in my family and you are leaving, to go on a trip or to go home after visiting (or whatever the case might be) be prepared for the sock waving. And no, it does not matter if you are in public. And it almost always occurs outside.

 

On another note, CONGRATULATIONS to a fellow blogger over at The Waiting who probably has a new addition to her family RIGHT NOW!!!

 

  • A Hero (brokencondoms.wordpress.com)
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7 thoughts on “On Tradition

  1. Seems the last few days everyone I know is thinking of family traditions in one way or another while pregnant. I’m keeping the tradition of waking up after midnight on Christmas Eve (technically Christmas) to open gifts – wholly started by the fact my brother would wake us all up extremely early for presents (and when he was put back to bed would get up an hour later and do it all again). So, exhausted, my mom created this tradition so she could sleep in. I like the sound of it. 😛 But I always remember the excitement at how late we got to stay up so late into the night!

    I love the sock tradition – sending people off with a smile instead of a tear! Beautiful! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😀

    • Haha! That’s a really good idea! My step-dad’s family does something like that, actually. They actually keep the kids up until midnight and have everyone open presents then and then go to mass. There is lots of eating and drinking and music and dancing involved in their celebration, too. I dunno though, I really guess I will have to see. I rather thought Christmas morning was magical when I was small (also, it’s my birthday so I got lots of attention!) I guess I won’t know what I prefer until it happens!

      Yeah, the sock tradition is totally useful in embarrassing teenagers. But really funny now that I am an adult!

      • I think these tradition things just fall into place. Something that you do as a parent on a regular basis might not seem a tradition to you, but might become so special to your child that they continue it onward. I think my folks are surprised I’m continuing some of the “traditions” they just made up on the way. Your Grandma sounds like a rockin person BTW! 🙂 Love your blog too, I am now a follower. 😀

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