Sunday lunch was always a baked dinner in our home when she was growing up so the evening meal was something light but I always made scones – date scones, scones with jam and cream, sultana scones or cheese scones. As we sat around her table enjoying scones fresh from the oven, memories came flooding back, wonderful memories of precious family time shared together. Most of all I felt grateful that she remembered.
The decorations were always given on 25 November. My daughter found waiting for Christmas unbearable so we invented 11/12th Christmas so she had something to look forward to while she waited for the big day. It's a tradition she’s continued with her children.
Traditions take time, effort and imagination but they let the family know they are valued, build family bonds by helping children feel a part of something, and create history and lasting memories. Traditions tie us to our roots but can evolve into our future.
When my daughter went to live in the UK, she headed off with conflicting emotions, extreme excitement and deep apprehension. It was the first time living away from home and leaving her family. At the airport, I handed her a bag of goodies I’d prepared, a bag of gift wrapped packages with instructions on when to open them – on take off, after the first meal, during the first refuelling stop etc. Some were little things to make the flight more enjoyable, others memories of home for her new home and some were cards sharing my thoughts and encouragements. Over the years as other family have gone overseas, I’ve continued the tradition and sometimes they’ve done the same for me.
Every family’s traditions will be different and that’s what makes them special. In their uniqueness they are personal and provide that sense of belonging. And because traditions are ongoing, they provide a sense of continuity and security. They are an investment worth making.
I have the joy of planning the adventure and get to do things I might never think to do alone, such as the time we walked steel ropes in the treetops above Taronga Park Zoo, on a Wild Ropes Course! Of course there are lots of photos that make their way into a memory book so each child has a record of the adventures we’ve enjoyed together.
And traditions are not just for families, they build and strengthen friendships through shared memories and togetherness.
Some traditions just evolve like hot scones and love, others take thought and imagination but their value is priceless ... seeds sown today to blossom far into the future and sometimes we are fortunate enough to experience a taste of that.
Scone image: Daniel Bahn Petersen