Sunday, September 1, 2013

Family Traditions...

I have had Gloria Gaynor's song rolling through my head for too many days. "I will survive!" seems to be the motto of this summer. It is amazing how quickly we can settle into a new normal. The house has a new look, a new feel, and fewer inhabitants; and we have survived. We have continued on and surprisingly- enjoyed the changes.

We had the opportunity to go to the beach last weekend, and it was so funny to hear my kids reminiscing over all the things they loved about their childhood...and all the things their parents didn't do so well on. As I watched my daughter with her little family wanting to mimic all our habits and traditions, saw the look of "You are crazy" cross her husband's face, I said a little prayer for them as they figure out what is going to be their special places, their special little habits. I can only imagine how hard it is for her as she realizes that her new family isn't going to look like, ANYTHING like, the only crazy one she's ever know.

And that it's OK. She doesn't have to chop down her own Christmas tree every year. The first meal she eats in a new home doesn't have to be an Egg McMuffin the first morning. Splashing in the freezing Pacific Ocean isn't a yearly tradition for everyone and going to every Christmas production in a 50 mile radius isn't a requirement.

I realized that maybe we put too much stock in "traditions", or the making of them, over the years. I love scrapbooking and taking pictures and editing and REMEMBERING every moment. So that brought a lot of memorable activities that literally were just for the sake of my imagination. Quarterly zoo trips, pottery making, homemade pizza nights. Nothing wrong with any of it, but I hope the traditions didn't overshadow the heart. I hope that her memory of all that isn't just the activities, it's the essence of being a family- of living together, loving each other, keeping Christ as the center of it all.

I read something that grabbed me and put into one sentence what my number one goal has always been, and I pray it will someday be understood by my dear ones. The author was writing about her son leaving for college, and as she was being nostalgic, she said:

"We could make "living loved" our family tradition."

Oh, how I want to know my children have always felt that. That in our home and our hearts, the only tradition that matters is that "You are LOVED." Dearly and greatly loved. I want them to see that it's more important that their own families, as well as any person who comes into their home, walks away knowing they are loved by them, and by the One who created it all.

Watching my grown up kids meander through life, I have been reminded how different they are. My daughter has always wanted me to video and photograph every moment of her life. My son would rather I just sit alongside him quietly. When I think about all the "things" we normally do as summer winds down and fall begins, I hope I can be sensitive to them and let them find the traditions that they want to do, and let the others fade to the background.

Because more than anything, I want them to see that "living loved" was the only tradition that matters in our family.

I hope my daughter can see that more than the pictures or places she and her husband remember, living LOVED is the one thing that matters.

I hope my son can see that more than any of the activities he participates in, living LOVED is the one thing that matters.

I hope my son-in-love can see that more than "being right" or being comfortable as he leads his family along their course, living LOVED is the one thing that matters.

And I so truly hope my grandbaby, my Darling Precious, can see that more than all the people, places and adventures her family fills her world with, living LOVED is the one thing that matters.

In light of all that God has blessed us with, how could we live any other way?

"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains...
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." 
Psalm 36:5-7

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