Early on in our parenting days, someone told my husband “the days are long, the years are short.” When there’s a child involved, it certainly seems like we were changing diapers one day and sending our son to pre-school the next day.
Time is fleeting so we celebrate the little moments in the everyday. We celebrate yearly events, monthly events, weekly events, and daily events. Here is a list of our family’s top seven traditions and celebrations:
Birthday books. We have celebrated each of Ryan’s four birthdays with a small family gathering. Each year, everyone in attendance signs Ryan’s “birthday book.” I began this tradition with Ryan’s first birthday and the Dr. Seuss classic Oh the Places You’ll Go.
Our yearly Santa picture. When I was pregnant, I purchased a “Santa and me” picture frame at an after-Christmas sale. Each year, we take Ryan to visit Santa Claus and take a picture (although, one year he declined to visit with jolly St. Nick). Each year, the frame graces our coffee table with an updated Santa picture.
Our yearly visit to the Aquarium. On the day I took a home pregnancy test and learned I was pregnant, I spent the rest of the day with my sister and two nephews marveling at fish like Nemo, sharks, and sea lions. Since that July day, we take Ryan to visit the aquarium each summer.
Easter and Passover. I was raised by parents of two different religious backgrounds, and the tradition continues with my husband and myself. So each spring, my son enjoys “matzo crackers” and we decorate hard-boiled eggs. And on Easter Sunday, the eight plastic eggs hidden in our living room each hold a quarter to total Ryan’s $2.00 “Son Day” payment.
To document Ryan’s growth, we take a picture of him on the 30th of each month (he was born on March 30th). When Ryan was younger, we were able to position him on a red chair in his bedroom. We watched his legs dangle closer to the hardwood floor. As an active toddler, pictures are more spontaneous – on the see saw, standing outside of preschool, striking a pose as he dances around the living room.
Ryan was born on a Sunday, so since his birth, Sunday is also known as “Son Day.” Each Sunday, Ryan receives $1 in each of his “piggy” banks (one is a blue pig, and one shaped like a baby bottle). Every few months I empty the banks, tally up the change, and make a deposit in Ryan’s savings account.
Good nights. My career as an elementary school teacher often forces me to leave the house quite early, sometimes before our son has awoken. “Night-night time” is even more special. We have our ritual – a kiss, a nosey-nosey, and a hug-a-bug. And then, I tell my son I love him and, borrowing from the Mamas and Papas, wish him “Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you.”