Traditions by Accident

My husband and I are not big on common traditions.  We rarely decorate the house for holidays or birthdays, and if you ask us what we’re doing for the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, we’ll probably look at each other and shrug.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have any traditions.  Some of the traditions that matter most to our kids are accidental traditions, traditions we never planned to create.  

traditions | Albuquerque Moms BlogValentines from Dad

When our oldest two were little, my husband got them felt Valentine cards. They loved them and kept them with their stuffed animals. One year, he presented them with mugs, and another year, little stuffed animals. Before my husband knew it, Valentine gifts from Daddy had become a tradition. Now on Valentine’s Day all three kids wait in suspense to see what he got them. It’s meant so much to them that now he doesn’t have to worry about upsetting me on Valentine’s Day, but about upsetting them.

Haircut (But No Shave)

Another tradition is the haircut-and-meal tradition. My husband swore he’d never let our boys cross the threshold of a “salon” of any kind. As the boys grew older, he started taking them to a real barber shop, and then to a meal. It’s their special “dude time.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the boys are requesting a haircut because long hair is bothering them or whether it’s because they’re craving nachos.

Cookies and Books

One of my favorite accidental traditions started several years ago. After dropping my two older kids off at school, I took my youngest to Starbucks a few times to have a treat and read a book. Pretty soon he said, “Cookie!” every time he saw the Starbucks sign. I thought that was funny, but I didn’t make a habit of taking him. After all, I didn’t want to have to buy him a cookie every time we passed a Starbucks.

One day, we were driving along, my son babbling in the back seat, when it hit me—he wasn’t just saying, “Cookie!” He was saying, “Cookie! Book!”

My book-loving heart melted, and any resistance I had to taking him to Starbucks every single school day melted too. I hadn’t realized that he loved not just the cookie (which any kid would like), but also the book time with Mommy.

Cookie-book time is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. I keep several books in the minivan so I’m always prepared. Now he takes a more active role in deciding what to read and even begs for me to take him to the library to get more books. Well, if I must….

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I can only imagine the outrage, protests, and downright revolt that would take place if we broke any of these traditions. They’re something positive to depend on even as our kids grow and change, something comforting.  

We were able to keep these traditions up even with the challenges of my tumor (you can read about that here and here). These traditions helped us to feel like something was still normal.

Do you have any accidental traditions you share with your kids?

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2 Responses to Traditions by Accident

  1. Rebecca September 9, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    For us, traditions started when our first kid started remembering things at age one, long before we thought she would. After getting our Xmas tree (which we only started doing after we had her!) she kept saying, “Now pancakes!” It took us way too long to remember that the year before (when she was 18 months old!) we went to a local diner after getting the tree. Now we’ve done it 3 years in a row… tree pancakes is a tradition for us!

    After her library program (which I only get to attend with her every few months because of my work schedule) we pick up lunch from the cafe and picnic in the park. That means more to me than any holiday… my birthday falls on library day next week, so I took off of work and that’s what we’ll do! I’ve declined several offers of fancy birthday brunches, spa trips, etc… because our Tuesday tradition is chicken salad and playground time!

  2. Lynne Robbins
    Lynne Robbins September 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    I love that you do tree pancakes! I’ll bet your daughter cherishes the mommy time at the park as much as you do.

    Sometimes the accidental traditions mean more to my kids than something I tried to make a tradition.