What are your favourite family memories and traditions? Was it a particular Christmas, a trip, a visit by someone special, a particular meal your mum cooked, a tradition your family has – what were they? These moments that warm our heart whenever we think of them are special. A sight, smell or word can often, quite spontaneously, take us back to a time and place.
Positive memories are part of our emotional health. They remind us of important connections, people and values. They anchor us in a family and history. I recognise that some readers don’t have these and I find that incredibly sad. That is all the more reason to build these into our own families.
Our, now grown-up, children often reflect on events and activities from the past that are important to them. Some of these my wife and I planned and others happened by accident. Having pizza on Christmas Eve in which everyone pitched in, just happened. This tradition was so important that even when my wife and I were living in a tiny flat in England, and all the girls came over for a visit, we still had to have pizza on Christmas Eve – or as close to it as possible.
Having an all girl family (apart from me) meant that particular stuffed toys and dolls gained a life all of their own. To this day questions about Muesli, Jessica, Grover and Fiona’s welfare pepper the conversation as though they are real – which, of course, they are!
The camping trips to Canberra and Woodgate, the building of Lego cities and towns and making “continental” s’mores (using Speculaas biscuits and Lindt chocolate instead of Graham crackers and Hershey bars) either around an open fire or over tea lights, are just a few more memories and traditions that I am certain will continue through the generations.
So what memories do you have and what memories are you building? In a fleeting and uncertain world they are more important than you think.