Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Those Family Traditions -- or Not

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Those Family Traditions -- or Not

Article excerpt

Byline: Elizabeth Seney, Shorelines columnist

On Mother's Day, I didn't go to church wearing a big Mother's Day lily corsage pinned to my lapel, accompanied by all three of my children neatly groomed and pressed.

We didn't get dressed up to go out to Mother's Day brunch at a fancy restaurant or country club.

We didn't sit around the dining-room table passing baked ham and mashed potatoes, smiling politely to one another, sharing sentimental Mother's Day memories.

We didn't go to the free Mother's Day concert held every year at the SeaWalk Pavilion.

Instead, my husband and I went to an early church service, then we collected the kids, put on our bathing suits and sunscreen and went to the beach, where we met up with my parents, my sister and brother and their families. Later that evening we reconvened at my house for hotdogs and hamburgers. Not much of a Mother's Day tradition, I grant you. But traditions are something I've never been good at.

I've never paid much attention to my family's rituals, or lack thereof, until a couple of Christmases ago. That year it was all the rage to publish newspaper and magazine articles about how important traditions are to family life. Readers of these publications wrote in to share their own favorite family traditions (apparently they have so many that they could only share their top 10). Martha Stewart and serious news journalists appeared on network television with tips on creating new and improved holiday rituals.

There has to be some holiday that we celebrate in the same manner every year, I told myself. I racked my brain and came up blank.

"Traditions are the 'always' in life -- the rituals and customs that build common memories for children, offer comfort and stability in good times and bad, and create a sense of family identity," journalist Marian Edelman Borden wrote in an article for Parenting Magazine titled "Rituals Kids Can Count On. …

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