Making Memories, Yes-you should too
17 Sep 2017
I have noticed over the years that often blended moms and dads are under the impression that they should not create their own “one on one” memories and traditions with their children, for whatever reason. I strongly think YOU SHOULD, in fact, you MUST. Here’s why: it matters to them. Having a special “thing” that you do with them, frequently and once a year, creates loving and unique memories that they will cherish. I have heard that some people think this will take away from their other parental relationships, however, love it not a zero sum game! There are so many activities that everyone can have a special bonding activity that is uniquely yours, and it will only strengthen the positive energy, the parent/child bond, and thereby the family! Some children may be nervous at first, and that’s ok! They may feel that any one on one special activity will upset the other parent. Unless you are purposely attempting to copy/take over some special bonding activity that they have-which we at WAF discourages (and do so in reverse as well!)-then forge ahead, and create some really fun, bonding history.
In our home we have lots of family traditions, as well as “one on one” traditions with each parent and child. Today I would like to give examples, as well as celebrate some of what we do in our home….and I promise, it has only yielded positive results!
Every year I do a “Back to School” activity with each child. Of course, they have matured and changed as the kids do so, but the premise is still the same: spending time together, one on one, before school. I try to keep the activities similar, but use your creativity!
When we first started, he was young a loved movies (ha, he still does). So I would send him a special “invitation” to a night of dinner and a movie out. I remember seeing the flick ‘How to Train your Dragon’, and noshing on (his pick) some Joy of Tokyo! As he grew older, he got into golf. So about 7 years ago, we started doing dinner, and a par 3, and donuts. We would laugh at how “great” we are at golf, talk about what he is excited to do the new school year, and finish the night with Krispy Kreme donuts and some” 3 Doors Down” music on the way home. That particular tradition really stuck with Shawn, and we enjoyed did this same event this year for the 7th time, although this year Shawn drove me!! It’s something we look forward to, plan, and reminisce about each year. Yes, to include the fact that I may alter the scorecard to reflect Shawn’s winning score as my own. We eat burgers, laugh at how bad I am and then eat donut holes as we drive around listening to music. And I LOVE IT. Here are some pics from over the years.
Abby and I initially started with lunch and mani pedis. I remember the time we were eating after the mani pedi and Abby accidentally smeared her wet toenail polish all over the vinyl seating. She was so upset and worried, that we literally left and ran to get polish remover to try to clean it off of the seat (it kind of worked :/); we then raced back to the salon for a fix. At that time we were in a sort of odd place in that she has always been worried of messing up, and this was a good opportunity for me to show her that I “had her back” and that it will all be ok. Those are crucial moments that you can’t fabricate, are necessary, and can only happen if given a one on one situation-repeatedly, with love and flexibility. We regrouped and had several more years of spa days, to include a transition to massages when she started cross country her 8th grade year. As we headed into her senior year this year, we went to see John Mayer in concert. With Abby, the consistency of the activity is not as important to her, but doing something together is. In fact, she likes to mix it up. They are all so different! And we have good memories form them all.
Still a youngster, we have only had two chances to do this, but it has been going to Great Wolf Lodge with friends before school starts. I don’t know what this tradition will stick or change with him, but I have learned that it matters, and we will keep doing so.
I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t know about traditions and making memories, but unfortunately some of you will not think it is acceptable and HEALTHY for you to do so. DO SO!!! No child, family, relationship has ever been harmed by spending time together and laughing and making memories. Our kids will be gone on their own journeys sooner than we like, but these things anchor their hearts to our families and give them a sense of stability, roots, and love as they do head out on their own. Have fun!!
Let us know your stories to post!! Send pics of your family traditions!