I am an ardent and unashamed lover of traditions!
If you've never had the privilege of watching "Tevia" sing about tradition (Fiddler on the Roof) well, you have just missed it! Traditions offer continuity, they demonstrate connectedness, they express value.......the list goes on and on.
Tonight we will share in celebrating the birthday of a special young man - Mr. Nathan Andrew Smith who happens to be turning 21 years old! We are blessed to be marking this birthday with Nathan for several reasons: He has been a friend of our family for many years; he is currently attending SEU (which is essentially in our back yard); his dad flew down from NC to host this celebration; and (drum-roll, please) he is the boyfriend of our youngest daughter. (Cymbal crash. Smile.)
So right now the family is engaged in a last minute flurry of activity preparing burgers for the grill, wrapping gifts, hanging streamers, arranging chairs, etc. (I am excused from said activities this time because we just returned from a conference and I'm breathing for a moment.)
But that's exactly the point. Our family birthday celebrations have had certain elements of tradition for so many years now that the girls can make it happen all on their own. They add new ideas, their own personal flair and there you have it - tradition....improved! Better still, we will also be adding "Smith Family Traditions" for this evening. Ahhhh, the richness!
There were many times through the years that I wondered if maintaining "traditions" even mattered to anyone else in the family. So much effort was required; was it really that important? The answer is a resounding "YES!" Young moms out there, it really does matter.
I would encourage you to keep your traditions simple, easily manageable. Remember, you want to enjoy repeating this not spending the whole year dreading that it's coming up again. Smile.
And include as many family members as you can. Give age appropriate assignments. Then have fun! The important thing is the repetition not the lavishness of the tradition. (And that's good news in any economy.)
Time for me to join the festivities. But I just want to encourage you - add tradition to your next celebration. You will see the dividends for years to come.