For the past 8 years or so, my military family has eaten spaghetti every single Wednesday night. My Marine, our two kids and I sit around the table and enter Italian Carb-Load Heaven, complete with buttery garlic bread (don’t worry, we throw some salad on the side too).
Now, why on Earth would YOU be interested in my family’s eating habits?
Because today, January 4th, is National Spaghetti Day! And, by total coincidence, it’s also Wednesday!
But the real reason I’m talking to you about spaghetti is because this is my family’s tradition. It’s not much, but it’s ours. It’s the only time each week that it’s a GUARANTEE that we will be sitting at the kitchen table together. And when my husband is gone, my kids know for certain that they will be having spaghetti: Every. Single. Wednesday. It may not be as tasty as ‘Dad’s spaghetti, but they have come to rely on it as a staple in our lives anyway.
I tell you all of this because our community NEEDS these traditions. When my husband and I first became a military family, I’m not gonna lie….I was pissed off that the majority of the traditions that I grew up with couldn’t be as consistent as before or even doable in many cases. It took me years to figure out I had to create my own, or modify my old traditions to fit my new life.
Traditions don’t have to be complex. They have to be reliable. Having spaghetti for dinner on Wednesdays may not seem like much of a tradition, but it’s something that might help my kids experience a foundation of where they came from; if not geographically, then through values that WE create.
Here are 3 reasons why YOU should create your own traditions:
Whenever we PCS, endure deployments, get new jobs or become a parent for the first time, everything changes. Change will always be there in military life, but change doesn’t have to be the only constant, right? Traditions offer comfort and security, and provide a sense of belonging that we sometimes aren’t always afforded.
2. Something to look forward to
Yes, there will be days, or weeks or even months where it seems like we’re just going through the motions. There will be times where we’ll have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and just deal. But what if you had something to look forward to every day, week, or month? I gotta tell you, there are some weeks where I want the entire world to just shove off…but then I think about sitting at my kitchen table with my family and it feels like I’m about to accomplish something! I know it sounds lame, but when you have teenagers, a conversation over dinner really IS an accomplishment!
3. Living our Eulogy
Yep, you just read that right. EULOGY. Tradition as a long term factor in your life will hold the moments that you will be thinking about when you reflect on the life that you have lived. It’s what your kids might think about when they begin raising their own family. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to force my kids to come home from their friend’s houses or get off the video games and sit at the dog-gone table. Sometimes, we just don’t want to do it…but we still do.
Think back to what your own family’s traditions were like where you were growing up or things you used to do regularly. Now tell me: how many times have you had a conversation with your brother or sister or cousin or other extended family where one of you says “Oh man! Do you remember when…? Gosh, I used to HATE that!”
Did you feel the twinge of nostalgia in your heart? Did you smile? My kids just might remember me dragging them to the kitchen table a few times, and they might even remember me saying a cuss word or two while I was serving the spaghetti….but they will never forget those moments and neither will their Dad and I.
Do YOU have any Family Traditions you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!