March is a very busy month for me, as it marks the start of what I call ‘birthday season’ in my home. I’ve got a mother, dear girlfriend, sister in law, son, husband and daughter, all with birthdays between now and the end of April. Plus we toss Easter in for more celebratory fun. And that’s what it is- a season of fun celebrations. Though it’s hectic, it’s always my goal to make these precious ones, especially my children, feel well loved.
I throw myself into planning what they have requested for dinner, coordinating decorations like napkins and streamers along with shopping for and wrapping up the perfect gift that will make their eyes sparkle. Years ago, I began setting aside a cupcake and would put a candle on it and wake them up on their birthday morning with a lit candle and a family chorus of ‘happy birthday.’ They have always sat right up in bed wide-eyed with excitement and devoured that special cupcake while we sit on the edge of bed and watch. Often, it’s a time where I share the story of the day they entered this world. I have no idea what prompted me to begin the wake-up cupcake, but of course it’s tradition now. I’ll be honest, I have a moment of panic every year when I inevitably forget to set aside the cupcake or think I might forget. Ha! You know they won’t ever let me get away with skipping it either! I sometimes joke to my man that I’ll be visiting their college dorms with a lit cupcake someday, at the crack of dawn.
Which brings me to this.
We are the keepers of tradition as moms, aren’t we? I’ve had so many conversations with moms about how to establish traditions and I laugh when I look back at ours. I don’t know about you, but most of our traditions just happened. The ones I tried to force or create didn’t often take. But the ones that stirred up joy and a sense of family belonging because of the spontaneity of the moment, well, those are the ones we can’t do without. I love being the one that tucks only green foods into their lunchboxes on St. Patrick’s day because once I decided they might love that. I love being the one who had ready made hot cocoa with marshmallows waiting for them after the first big snow of the season when they were small, and now it’s expected. I love being the keeper of which recipes go with which birthdays and holidays and how that gives my children a sense of safety in it’s predictability. I am the keeper of their traditions for the moment, and it’s a job that I can do with great joy because it’s creating memories they will treasure their whole lives.
What a gift, this thing we call motherhood is, isn’t it?
This March I become the mother of a teenager. My first. How the time vanished so quickly I will never know, but it has, and suddenly we have merged from the on ramp into the fast-moving traffic of teenage-hood. I will plug my ears if you start chattering about driver’s licenses and dating and such. We’ll just wait on that conversation until I’m ready. And if the past is any indicator, I’ll never be fully ready but it will happen regardless. In the mean-time I’ll just keep lighting that birthday candle on a solitary cupcake every March 28th.
What traditions are you keeping for your children?