Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Family traditions

on June 9, 2012

When I was a child we had lots of family traditions – like putting the presents out under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. I suspect a lot of these were habits borne of necessity (I imagine if the presents had been put out any earlier they wouldn’t have made it to Christmas Day unopened) but to me they were fundamental parts of each celebration. I think I assumed that, over time, we would develop our own traditions. Now it’s just me, I’m having to choose to make them.

It’s Small Girl’s first birthday tomorrow. I am having an unnecessarily large party which I’m not really pretending is for her. It’s her birthday so it is her party, but really I want to get my friends and family together and say “look! I’m surviving!”. To myself, not to them. That would be a bit odd. Small Girl is probably a bit more sociable than Big Girl was at this age so I think she’ll like seeing lots of people and enjoy watching the big children running around (obviously she won’t be doing any running in her thigh-high cast, although she can now do a fairly ungainly scramble and a bit of walking around furniture).

So I’m starting a few new traditions. Firstly, birthday pyjamas. I’m not sure if it’s peculiar to where I live (many things are) but quite a lot of people I work with seem to get their children new pyjamas to wear to bed on Christmas Eve. This would be fine for Big Girl, my December baby, but Small Girl would start getting pyjamas when she’s half-grown-out of them. So I’m going for birthdays. I only really decided to do this today, so went on a miserable trip into town, went into Boots, Next and Marks and Spencer and failed to find any pyjamas in 12-18 months. I then rang my sister who was on her way to visit and demanded that she get off the train at the big city nearby and find me some pyjamas. As she loves to shop, this wasn’t too much of an unreasonable request. Small Girl is currently asleep in her birthday pyjamas and Big Girl (who doesn’t quite understand that this is not in fact her birthday or her party or her presents) claims that she is also in her birthday pyjamas. As long as she’s happy…

I also tried to get a photo taken at our local Max Spielman as you can get 10 photos for £5.99, which seems a reasonable deal. Small Girl managed not to fall off the chair in her cast. Big Girl refused to smile at all. I wanted a picture of them together but ended up with a photo of Small Girl on her own, smiling. And a picture of Big Girl gazing off into the distance, not smiling, which I had to pay a pound for (“it’s an add-on” apparently) because I’d told her we were getting photos of both of them. Never tell toddlers anything. I’m not sure if this is going to become a family tradition. Not unless they’re both able to smile for the camera at the same time.

So Small Girl’s picture is currently stuck on the wall next to the Happy Birthday bunting, my other new family tradition. Mum used to write us a birthday message on the fridge using magnetic letters. I’ve found this lovely bunting made by Calico Gifts – every birthday I’m going to hang it up for the birthday girl to get up to. I hope it makes them feel like it’s a proper birthday in the same way that fridge magnets did for me.  It turns out it doesn’t take that much to make a tradition.



12 responses to “Family traditions

  1. jensine says:

    I think traditions are important but equally so it’s important to create your own

    • I think I’m hoping that these will become traditions for my family. It’s probably part of my transitioning from being the family I thought I had, with Ex-Husband, to managing my family identity on my own. I’m trying to take ownership of it and make it into the family I want it to be, and build some things which can become traditions for my two little girls, things which they will always think of when they have a birthday.

    • I don’t seem to have the option of replying to your reply to my reply. So what sort of traditions have you created? And what’s your purpose in doing so? I want to create a sense of identity and occasion for my children but also for myself. I think it must be different on your own because there’s no-one to be creating a dialogue with, or relating traditions to – is it just a case of doing something repeatedly in the same situation? I used to have a ritual walking home from work at the end of the week – I would walk through a park and imagine leaving all the worries from work in some trees and bushes I walked past on the way into the park, and then on the way out I would think ahead to my weekend, to the things I was looking forward to and things I had to do, to move from being in work to being at home.

      • jensine says:

        well on December 24th I meet up with two friend and we have brunch and cocktails afterwards … kits always a great day and I love spending Christmas morning on my own, light the candles (yes real ones) on my tree and unwrap the gifts from people who love me. On my birthday I don’t go to work, so I have a lie in, indulge in breakfast and go into town … treat myself and spend the day on my own doing as I please, evening is mostly reserved for friends. I try to go a way once a year to a place I have never been … last year was St Petersburg, this year maybe Venice or Rome, spend time wandering around, taking photos etc. I try to go to a gallery or exhibition once a month , fodder for my soul and creativity, I write postcards to my niece and nephew to let them know I am thinking of them. I meet up with a group of girls once a month for a sex and the city type brunch and when I feel low I like trying on shoes in shoe shops … does any of this help?

        • I really like the idea of going away to somewhere I’ve never been. It sounds like a lot of your traditions are to do with building and maintaining relationships and making certain things special. I wonder if I need to get through the painful first year of being separated (there’s still a lot to get through before the separation feels finalised) and then next year start building traditions for myself.

          • jensine says:

            or maybe try to create new ones where old ones once were … an old anniversary you lose but you gain a new one of freedom … an old birthday is gone but maybe a second sunday in the month is suddenly museum time etc … big hug and hope things get better soon

  2. Simon H says:

    Have I ever told you that I think you’re quirky?!

    • Yes. Or more specifically you said that I would like a film because it’s knowingly quirky and so am I. What part of my family traditions do you think is quirky? And are christmas pyjamas a local thing? I’ve never come across it before but I suppose that it’s only since moving here that I’ve met many people with small children – before, I used to know more students than any other demographic.

  3. Ruth Edson says:

    These are brilliant. Love the bunting. Im tempted to copy. The photo thing is funny, I really don’t think I’ve got a nice photo of Jude and lily together. Happy birthday to Darcie. I hope you have a lovely day. Sorry we can’t be there x

  4. Jude Scott says:

    I used to do christmas pjs and new christmas duvets and assuming abigail one day sleeps in her own bed I will carry on the tradition for her

  5. […] first birthday since the separation.  I made plans.  I was positive about the day.  I put up my birthday bunting and wore my birthday pyjamas.  And then I woke up with a horrific case of d&v.  Unusually for […]

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