Tuesday, July 8, 2014
In the United States, the Fourth of July is the major summer holiday. The nation celebrates with parades, picnics, fireworks and celebrations from small towns to big cities. Our family has certain traditions established years ago that only seem to grow stronger as the years pass. We have breakfast with friends, neighbors, and family members. Then we walk down and all watch our hometown parade. Later in the day, as a family, we drive to my sister's house for a fun, multi-generational neighborhood picnic and end the day huddled together on blankets enjoying the fireworks display. It is a day filled with simple pleasures; donuts at breakfast, a hometown parade shared with friends and family, playing soccer or wiffle ball in Aunt Jodi's yard, a picnic dinner, fireworks on a blanket by the lake. Simply the joy of spending time together.
This simple chain of events seems to have taken on more meaning as the years go by. My husband and I look forward to spending precious family time together with our four grown children. It doesn't happen very easily these days, and so when we are all together it is cause for celebration. The funny thing is that my children often refer to this holiday as their favorite; out pacing even materialistic Christmas or (at their age) alcohol fueled New Year's Eve!
So why do they love this holiday so much? I have a theory. They love our family and our family traditions. Even if one of them misses our Fourth of July, as they have over the years, they find comfort in the fact that it still goes on as always, and they will be able to experience it the next year if they are able. They have been raised to appreciate our time together in the company of our family and friends, and not take it for granted. And family traditions offer comfort and stability to them in our fast paced, ever so stimulating world.
What family traditions do you have? If none come to mind, take the time to start some. Pattern a celebration in a certain way each holiday and recognize what a gift you will be giving your children. The gift of quality time, quality memories and simple family pleasures. There are a lot of summer nights remaining. Get busy planning some days and nights to remember!