How wonderful it must be to speak the language of the angels, with no words for hate and a million words for love!
~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994
The older I get, the more I reflect on the traditions of my childhood, instilled with the love of my parents. Not the big things, but those little things that lay nestled in my heart like spoonfuls of warm chicken noodle soup. My mom always made a double-chocolate cake layered with vanilla pudding and chocolate chips for each of my birthdays and my dad’s ode to the Fourth of July was a lighted flare staked in our tiny front yard as my siblings and I cheered and clapped with glee.
I always waited for Dad to come home from work, sitting on the front steps with a scuffed and tattered baseball clutched in my hands. It was his tradition to toss a few pitches to me before going into the house to greet Mom and wash up for dinner. And, on snowy Chicago winter days Dad made it a tradition to help me run my paper route with his beat-up Chevy station wagon. He’d drive through the snow while I bundled the papers and tossed them onto front porches. It was then I soaked in his best advice, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right.”
I’ve carried on some of the traditions of my childhood with my daughter. For example, when Danni turned seven I bought her first two-wheel bike and taught her to ride, same as my parents did for me and each of my siblings on our seventh birthdays. I also make her a lunch for school, same as my mom did each and every morning for years. Sometimes I tuck a note inside.
My husband and I have also begun a few of our own family traditions. We love leaving little notes for each other—taped to the car’s steering wheel, tucked beneath a bed pillow, at the dinner table, slipped into a pocket or shoe. The favorite Danni and I share is notes on the bathroom mirror. When she started to drive, I began to leave sticky notes for her each morning. “Have a great day. I love you. Be safe.” She framed the mirror with them, and then one day the notes disappeared. I thought she’d thrown them away, but later cried when I found she’d tucked each one carefully into a shoebox for safekeeping.
Traditions are the vines that connect memories and lives. What traditions do you share with your family…your friends?