“Did you get to choose your birthday menu, like when we were kids?”, I asked my older brother.
Although this was one of my favourite memories, it was one he had forgotten until I mentioned it.
Not only did I remember the special feeling I got from being able to choose the meal, I carried the tradition on with my children. To be honest, I didn’t realize that not every family did this! When my children brought home significant others I would be met with surprise when I wanted to honour them by cooking their favourite meal.
That’s the way it is with some family traditions. They become so second nature that we believe our way to be commonplace and not an exception.
My brother, who is eight years older than me, asked if our mom was still baking her special bread when I went to school. I laughed at the memory. That tradition was definitely not normal!
For Valentine’s Day my mom would put pink food colouring in the bread dough and I’d go to school with pink sandwiches! On Saint Patrick’s Day, she’d do the same with green food colouring. Initially, this caused quite a stir in my classroom. As years went by, my friends would explain my unusual lunch to new kids before I got a chance to!
I also grew up with money in my birthday cake. Mom would take coins, wrap each in wax paper and insert them into the cake before she iced it. The total amount equaled my age. Whoever got a coin in their piece of cake got to keep it and this always caused excitement for friends at my birthday parties. I was the only one who’s mom did this. Lucky me!
Looking back, I see how these simple traditions let me know I was loved. Maybe this is why I still express my love by baking for others.
My husband and I have started a few traditions of our own with our kids and grandkids. I’ll save those stories for another day.
For now, I’m wondering what special traditions you have in your family. They may or may not have to do with food! I’d love to hear about them and how they have shaped who you are today.
Nostalgia struck during my morning walk. Golden leaves fell like raindrops as my steps became automatic and my mind turned to people who have played significant roles in my life.
A couple of weeks ago my sister and I were able to have an in-person visit, after not seeing each other for over two years. I wonder when I will see her again.
My one remaining brother lives half-way around the globe. The last time I saw him was when he returned three years ago for our older brother’s celebration of life. Distance makes it impossible to reach out and give him a hug.
Our younger brother left this world far too young. Memories dance through my mind. What I would give to once again hear the chatter and laughter of our family gatherings.
Someone I care for is grieving her son, whose life was snatched away in a tragic accident recently. My heart cries with sorrow for the hope of a future that will never be realized.
It is a fresh reminder that tomorrow is not promised. All we have for certain is this moment. Let’s make the most of it. Tell people you love them, let them know they are valued and hold them tight whenever you have the opportunity.
The words of a song play in the background of my mind as I conclude this post, “Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.”
My mom always made pancakes, waffles or johnny cake for Sunday lunch. Bacon or sausages would accompany these much-loved meals. In my mind’s eye, I can picture sitting around the kitchen table with my siblings.
When I started my own family, these Sunday lunch foods were continued. Now that my children have children of their own, they often make these favourites for their families.
On Mother’s Day, my husband and I made waffles using my mom’s recipe. I enjoyed every bite. Afterwards I thought of the many memories I have that revolve around family meals. Also, there are foods that automatically make me think of a certain person.
Well into her 70’s, my mom enjoyed gathering her family for a meal. When we arrived, we’d go directly to check the paper she had taped to her hutch. There we could read the entire dinner menu. It was much later I learned this was not done for our benefit, but so she wouldn’t forget anything!
For many years now, the words “clubhouse sandwich” invoke memories of much more than food. On December 26th we gather with our children and grandchildren for Clubhouse Sandwich Day. What started with food has turned into a gathering that’s a priority on everyone’s schedule. Not all the grandkids like clubhouse sandwiches but everyone enjoys the fun, laughter and stories that are shared that afternoon. Family memories are relived and new ones created.
When asked, my grandchildren could easily identify a food they thought of in relation to me. I know that even when I am no longer with them, they will think of me when they eat this. Memories are so often intertwined with food.
What memories do you have around certain foods? I’d love to hear your stories. You may inspire me to start a new family tradition!
Twenty-five of us were out for dinner. A woman from Mexico was on my left and one from Florida on my right. The conversations were multiple and varied. The noise level made it difficult to hear more than snippets of what was being said across the table.
Suddenly, three words caught my attention. From opposite me I heard, “I’m sufficiently suffonsified.” A few others also heard the words and were confused. I, on the other hand, was totally delighted
You see, this was something my mother said. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone else say it and always assumed it was something made up by her family.
Mom passed away twenty years ago and I hadn’t heard the saying since. What had been temporarily forgotten now returned along with a flood of memories. I was mentally transported to my younger years and could see her smile and hear her voice.
After a large meal, mom would say, “I’m sufficiently suffonsified and any more would be an overindulgence of my already exasperated appetite.” In other words, she was full and couldn’t eat another bite!
It’s funny what can trigger memories. Sometimes, like this night, it was a few words. Other times it is the sight of a humming bird or aroma of freshly baked bread.
The everyday moments form the legacy I will be remembered by. The hugs, the laughter, the time spent together are more important than I realize. Since I don’t know what may trigger memories for my children and grandchildren in future years, I will do my best to leave a positive impression. My goal is to ensure they will be sufficiently suffonsified with the love I have shared.
The old coffee can received a new life in a kindergarten class back in 2005. First, it was painted white. Then a snowman face was painted on and a red felt cap added.
Our young granddaughter chose to present this wonderful gift to my husband and I. The cap had an opening in the back that was perfect for little hands to reach in, so we decided to turn the snowman into a special treat tin for our grandchildren.
They were not allowed to look inside the tin to make their choice. Instead, they would get what their hand chose. Sometimes the hands were in the tin for a long time as they attempted to feel every treat inside! This was the basis for many fond memories.
As our grandchildren grew, in size and number, the hat became unglued several times. Eventually, the snowman tin was retired and tucked out of sight in our pantry. I think we missed the game of guessing the treat more than the younger children did.
Not long before Christmas I brought out our special snowman and looked at the piece of masking tape on the bottom of the tin that still showed our granddaughter’s name.
The time had come to bring this gift back to life. My husband reattached the hat and we shopped for some special treats.
Our granddaughter has just moved out of her parent’s home and into her own apartment. When we presented her with the treat tin as a housewarming gift I could almost see the memories dancing across her mind. Her, “Oh, my gosh!” and big smile let us know the gesture was appreciated.
My hope is this tin will be a visual reminder of the sweet surprises life has in store for her and for her grandparents, who will always be there when she needs us.
Have you heard the saying, “Somebody pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming”? That is exactly how I felt.
My husband and I had a long time dream and were about to make it happen. The time for saying, “One day we’d like to” had come to an end.
Too many times we have let opportunities pass us by. This time we weren’t going to look back in regret, wondering what it would have been like.
Plans were set in motion and initial preparations were started. We told others about our plans. It surprised us to hear how many people wanted to do the same. Not only were we going after our dream, we would also be living that of many others as well.
We packed up Vanessa, our 1996 travel van and headed across Canada.
Intentionally, we kept our schedule flexible. We had a rough idea of timing for some areas and commitments for specific dates in others. For the most part, we were free to go where the wind, or whim, took us.
Nine weeks and over 16,000 km on the road in a camper van was certainly the adventure of a lifetime for us. We witnessed firsthand the diverse beauty of our country. We were inspired by people we met. We overcame challenges and shared frustrations and laughter.
I learned to be content in a small space. I enjoyed not knowing what we might see during the day or where we would stop for the night. Having our food and accommodation with us gave us incredible flexibility. I am convinced this trip helped me to embrace a spontaneity that had been hidden for far too long. That in itself was a gift.
Now instead of saying, “One day” we have amazing memories of pursuing our dream and turning it into a dream come true.
Do you have any special Christmas traditions? Are there activities, outings or special foods that signify the season for you? They may have been carried forward in your family for years, decades or generations.
How easy is it for you to adapt to changes in your traditions?
I grew up in a home where we were able to choose one of the presents under the tree to open on Christmas Eve. When I got married this changed. My husband was of the opinion that all gifts waited until Christmas morning. It was time to form new traditions together.
When my children were young teenagers we would pick my mother up in the afternoon of Christmas Eve and bring her our house to spend the next few days.
She would come to church with our family on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, we would drive around various neighbourhoods admiring Christmas light displays. Upon returning home it was time for hot chocolate and cookies.
One year, my husband made us clubhouse sandwiches on Boxing Day. Little did he know this was the start of a brand new tradition! Boxing Day has been synonymous with clubhouse sandwiches ever since!
Some traditions change out of necessity. My mom is no longer with us and our kids now have families of their own. One thing has not changed in over twenty years. We may not all be together to open gifts or enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas Day but nobody wants to miss out on our clubhouse gathering on Boxing Day!
It’s funny how something little like this takes hold and becomes such a big part of our lives. Tell me about the traditions that have become part of your family heritage?
Have you completed your Christmas shopping? Some gifts are purchased, some are lovingly hand-made and others come straight from the heart.
Of the many gifts given and received over the Christmas season, often those most valuable are the ones that don’t come from a store.
One of the most thoughtful gifts I ever received came from my daughter. She didn’t have a lot of money but wanted to do something special for me.
I had a drawer full of recipes cut from the newspaper, jotted on scrap paper or passed on from friends. My daughter took the opportunity to go through these whenever I wasn’t home and neatly print the favourites onto recipe cards, which she placed in a small file box. This allowed me to find the ones I wanted with ease. Almost twenty years later, I still use and appreciate this gift.
My children, now grown with families of their own, don’t remember a lot of Christmas gifts received while they were young. What they do remember is receiving a new board game every year. We would spend hours as a family playing these games. The time spent together is what their memories are made of.
Over the years I’ve given and received some wonderful gifts. I’d be happy to share more of them but would rather hear about yours. What are some of the best gifts you remember and what make them special.
I’ll do a draw from the comments I receive and one of you will win a gift from me!
Recently I took an enjoyable stroll down memory lane. My husband and I were sorting through a box of old photographs. These were the kind of pictures where we didn’t know exactly what was captured on film until it was developed. Not like the digital ones today where we know exactly what we’re getting.
Some were better quality than others but all held precious memories. It was like having the lives of our children flash before our eyes. One minute they were babies, the next they were teenagers. Today they have children of their own. Stories and laughter abounded as we recalled events over the past few decades.
As I looked at the photos, I was struck as much by what was missing as what was there. When our children were little we spent countless hours with them. This is evidenced by the number of pictures from those years.
Just as we didn’t know how the pictures on the roll of film would develop, we also didn’t know how our lives would develop. There are chunks of time not accounted for in the photographic history of our family life. I like to think it was just the camera that was missing and not my presence in their lives. That may not always have been the case.
Time passes swiftly and looking at these pictures, I was reminded of the importance of quality time spent with our loved ones. My goal is to ensure the legacy I leave will be one of pleasant memories.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Did you know that new vehicles no longer come equipped with a CD player? My husband found this out when renting a vehicle for a business trip. He’d taken some CD’s along to listen to when the radio reception was poor.
His disappointment was short-lived when he discovered the satellite radio. There were stations for every genre of music. What he enjoyed most were the stations dedicated to each decade.
As he listened to songs from the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, and 60’s memories flooded his mind. Music is so much a part of our lives that favourite songs from each decade took him back to various moments in time.
Later he told me the good memories far outweighed the bad. We talked about our tendency to look back and dwell on things we wished we’d done differently. Those are minor compared to the positives we’ve experienced.
When going through trials we feel that they are insurmountable. When I look back on them I see the lessons learned and how far I’ve come. I heard a quote that said “We change for two reasons; either we learn enough that we want to or we hurt enough that we have to.” Either way, the experiences of the past are what has shaped us into who we are today. I’m happy to glance into the past and reminisce but have no desire to dwell there. I know my future lies before and not behind me.
It’s necessary to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and allow him to lead me into the bright future he has planned for me.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:2 NLT)