Sunday, 4 March 2012

We Are Family

This past week as I voraciously read The Hunger Games*, I began to think about tradition.  There are so many traditions from my own childhood, Chris's childhood and the ones that I have coveted from my friends (both literary and actual) that I want us to give to Molly and Jack.  I am well aware that they are still far too young to enjoy many of these, however, as a huge fan of lists this is one of the first steps to preparing us for the years to come.

A Very Merry Unbirthday To You!
I have wanted an unbirthday of my very own since I first found out about its existence.  Once I had the twins the importance of the unbirthday has grown by at least 10/6**.  Molly and Jack will share their birthdays forever.  We want to give them each a day of their own that they don't have to share with anyone else.  Every year they will each get to pick one unbirthday where they get to do an activity of their choosing and get an unbirthday cake.  There are no presents on an unbirthday - because it isn't anyone's birthday, just a special day to celebrate that particular person. 

The Magic Movie Ticket
When I was 12 or 13 one of the few activities I was permitted to do without parental supervision was to go to a movie with a few friends.  We would go to the mall food court for supper and then walk across the street to where we would spend our allowance on $4.25 cheap Tuesday movie tickets, all of us except for my friend Helen.  Helen's parents would pay for any movie ticket for her as long as she had read the book first.  Sometimes the entire family would read the book, go to the movie and then have dinner together afterwards discussing all of it - a familial book club of sorts, other times she'd be permitted to go with her friends.

Vacation from Cereal
As a child there were certain cereals that were off limits because they were unhealthy.*** This rule was abolished every summer when for two weeks we'd head up North and were able to eat from those mini boxes of sample cereals with all three of us fighting over the beloved Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and Fruit Loops.  Unfortunately by the fifth day there was nothing left but Bran Flakes, but even they tasted better coming out of miniature boxes.

We all Scream for the Last Day of School!
My friend's father hated school growing up, so every year on the last day of classes he'd take his kids out to celebrate - with unlimited ice cream treats from the local Dairy Queen.  The only rule was that they had to finish the one ice cream before they were permitted to order another.  I immediately pictured disastrous ramifications with sick, lactose intolerant children clutching their little bellies in pain.  My friend assured me that no one ever ordered more than three ice creams and that her father always "pitched in" in the end to help them finish their tasty treats.

Plan Your Own Vacation
Whenever we went on vacation my mom would research all of the wonderful things available to do at our destination .  Each family member was able to choose one activity per vacation that we'd all do together, whether it was eat at a specific restaurant, go to a theme park, horseback riding or climbing a waterfall, the choice was our own.  It gave us all something to look forward to and was incentive to behave ourselves when away from home.  This also gave us fodder to make fun of whoever's activity was a bust.*****

I know some of these traditions will blow up in our faces, like when we try to hold a family book club with a pair of eye rolling 15 year olds or when we're cleaning up ice cream vomit from the backseat of the car, however by implementing these activities we celebrate family togetherness, personal achievements, moderate indulgences and what it means to be a part of our offbeat little clan. 

*I make it a personal rule to try to read the book before seeing the movie, enabling me to always have my own version of the characters in a story before I see someone else's interpretation.  AND If you haven't already read this book - READ THIS BOOK!
**A little shout out to my fellow Alice in Wonderland fans!
***This is one of the many reasons, aside from being poor, that I existed mainly on Count Chockula and Eggo Waffles when I first moved out on my own in my early twenties.
****Erika, you know I'm talking about you.

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