Am I the only one who, upon seeing or hearing the word tradition, instantly starts singing the song from “Fiddler on the Roof?” I then break into a montage, in my head, of the other songs from that movie. And then I remember that awesome dance that Tevye does in the barn while singing “If I Were a Rich Man.” Ahhh…high school chorus movie days.
So about tradition. Yesterday’s post was short but I talked about St. Patrick’s Day and this fabulous tradition we’ve started with the little girls, and the big family breakfast, and the fabulous parade in St. Paul. I’ve been thinking about tradition ever since. I said that we didn’t do anything in my family to carry-on any cultural traditions.
But it occurred to me…we did have traditions. Traditions that I continue to carry-on today. Whether it’s the way we celebrate Christmas, or the magical things my Mom did for me that I now do for the little girls, or simply carrying-on my family’s strongly held beliefs about being active members of our community. There are traditions that I’ve known since I was a little girl that my little girls now know and consider their own.
As you know, I’ve been having trouble running. Recently, in the past couple weeks, I’ve figured out a way to make it work. And I’m enjoying it again. Thank. Jesus. So much so that Aych and I have put together a schedule of runs that we will be doing from now until December. Ranging from 5ks to a half marathon.
I know, right? We don’t mess around.
The past couple times we’ve participated in runs we’ve talked about wanting our little girls there to see us finish. We want them to see us participating in a community event, we want them to see us achieving something physical, we want them to understand how important exercise is and that it’s a big part of our lives, and we want them to see that we’re strong. No, not strong like winning the race (as I laugh out loud), but strong meaning we can overcome injuries, we can keep running even when it’s hard, and that we can train for something and then do it. Seeing their Moms run community races can be a new tradition…something that they can start to do themselves when they are old enough…something they can then share with their kids.
We’ve also started another tradition, the little girls and I. I heard an interview on NPR about nine months ago with an author who wrote a book called “The Reading Promise.” Essentially she and her father made a promise to read every night until they reached a certain number of days. They started when she was nine and went until she went to college. I bought the book…and I’m not in the business of reviewing books but I didn’t love it…but I LOVED the premise. So the little girls and I made a promise to each other to read together every single night that we are together. Our first goal was to get to 100 nights in a row. We’re now aiming for 300 and we’re at 165.
I’ve heard them tell other people about it…like their friends when they are explaining why they have to come in from playing a bit early…and they explain it with pride. We simply read a chapter of, well right now we’re heavy into Nancy Drew books, but we read one chapter each night and then to bed they go. Even when they are spending the night at their grandparents (on one of our nights) I will call and they’ll put me on speaker to read. We’ve never once missed a night since we made the promise.
The point is…we’ve created traditions in our family, and will be creating more, that the little girls can feel proud of and excited about. They will grow-up feeling like they are a part of their community, have parents who love and adore them, and will have read 64 Nancy Drew books. What could be better?!
TODAY: What if traditions don’t have to go back years or decades or centuries, what if we can create new traditions now that the little girls will grow up knowing as an inherent part of their lives and history?
PS – If I were a rich (wo)man I would totally do that Tevye dance every morning when I woke up.