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.
Valentines 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….
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.
Do you have any accidental traditions you share with your kids?