Redefining Our Traditions

Halloween

I am in love with the idea of creating traditions for my child. Kids typically grow up to live independent lives, and parents are forced to watch as the daily world they worked so hard to build slips away over time. This would be devastating if not for the things that do stick forever. Not just who we become as people, but which fragments of our history we choose to pass on to the next generation.

Board games. Birthday parties at Star World. Sundays at Grandma Hill’s house. Camping trips on Lake Michigan.

And holidays.

Experiences that stick are the only things that matter. Or maybe they are drops in a sea of nothing, only taking form when our imagination creates a mold for them; which feels a little meaningless. If I am going to exist in the world I only need to decide, I don’t have to be right about it. I like to believe that these are the things that define our lives and that they do matter- but they can also be anything we want them to be.

Annually I am forced to confront this thing that unsettles me. The holiday season is upon us, and my daughter doesn’t even know it. Halloween, Thanksgiving, her birthday, Christmas, New Year’s…. nothing. Each day is the same. No anticipation or excitement. It’s a concentrated group of traditions that should matter or shouldn’t matter. But that isn’t the problem. Continue reading

The Influence of Brothers

Eric and Me

Ask anyone if they believe fathers play a crucial role in the development of girls and you will be met with plenty of agreement. A father is, after all, our introduction to the opposite sex. Fathers write the first draft on expectations for all future male relationships. (No pressure, dads.)

But what about brothers?

My brother Eric is six years and four days older than me. I may have been a daddy’s girl, but I am certain that Eric was the only person in those early years capable of stealing my favor. He was old enough for me to look up to, but he was also just another kid. What he thought of me mattered most.

He was always around. I spent more time with my siblings than my parents; kids are forever playing in other rooms and getting sent outside. All those long summer days while my dad was working a typical day shift? Eric was on summer break right along with me. As the oldest kid in our neighborhood he would organize games for us younger ones to play. How many twelve-year old boys want to hang out with a bunch of six-year olds? Continue reading