Beth Falkenstein: "They" say that traditions are important in creating a stable and happy home. "They" say that traditions are important for developing secure and happy children. Well, "they" would be very proud of me, because my family is lousy with traditions. (By the way, I'm using the term "lousy" the way the hipsters in 1963 did -- i.e., the same way the hip-hop generation used "bad." It's all good.)
Every Easter, we sit and watch "Jesus Christ Superstar." Every 4th of July, we organize a block party. Every Labor Day, we take a trip to the Strawberry Music Festival near Yosemite. As soon as school starts, it's time to plan Halloween costumes and visit the pumpkin patch. And don't even get me started on Christmas -- there's practically a tradition per day during the entire month of December!
I can see that "they" are right: My kids seem to look forward to each one of these traditions with genuine excitement. As each occasion approaches, my teen and tween drop all pretense of being too cool, and get lost in the process. They are not embarrassed when their mother starts singing, "Hosanna, hey, Sanna, Sanna, Sanna, Ho." In fact, they sing along. All vanity goes out the window for the watermelon-eating contest. And it was a real testament to family solidarity last year when all four of us -- dad included -- dressed up like Beyonce in the "Single Ladies" video. (No, it wasn't Halloween. That was our Christmas card.)
OK, full disclosure: I may have gone overboard on the traditions tradition. I confess that the last thing I feel like doing at the beginning of summer vacation is throwing a party for eighty neighbors. And while being at the Strawberry Music Festival is a small slice of heaven, packing for Strawberry is a morsel of the other place. And don't get me started on how from October through December, my life is one long to-do list!
So I guess it's time to recognize some other traditions in our household: The tradition of mom screaming about watermelon stains on July 5th. The tradition of mom screaming about eating too much candy on November 1st. Or the tradition of letting mom sleep from December 26th until January 1st so she won't scream. I wonder what "they" would say about those.