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Don't forget to make some memories!



A few months ago, I gave each of my grandchildren a new book to start their summer reading (in the case of the youngest, his summer listening). My daughter gave me guidance on good topics for each of them, and the impromptu gift was successful enough for the oldest to ask, “Ama, is this a tradition?”

What a great question! Traditions give us intentional ways to make memories with our children and our grandchildren. Doing something once might be considered an event, but twice makes an event into a practice or a habit, and, voilà, a tradition is born. The cost in dollars need not be expensive. Your time and thought are at the heart of providing pleasant, memorable connections with your family—traditions.

I’ve reminisced about traditions from our eighteen summers.

  • Some were seasonal. We always started fall with a trip to the apple orchard, and most years we took a picnic lunch and did a little hiking while we were in the mountains.
  • Some were tied to events, like a loose tooth that finally led to a celebratory visit from the tooth fairy or reading aloud on our way across the country to Grandma’s house.
  • Some involved food, like the baking of chocolate chip cookies every time it snowed. We live in the south, so we celebrated snow and even granted exemptions to heavy frost. We kept a good supply of chocolate chips in the freezer to be ready to bake at a moment’s notice.

My grands are young, and we have begun a new set of eighteen summers with them. We already have some traditions they enjoy, but I am on the lookout for ways to add new memories to our family history.

We enjoy on-the-go traditions.

  • Rides in the car after Sunday church
  • Throwing Frisbees in the yard or swinging at the park
  • Filling the birdbaths with fresh water or taking nature walks
  • Collecting shells or rocks
  • Splashing in the kids’ fountain downtown

We also enjoy quiet-and-slow traditions.

  • Read together in a favorite chair (You can read through Skype, if you live a distance away.)
  • Send a postcard (one to each child) when we are on a trip (even if we get home before the card arrives). What child doesn’t love receiving something in the mail?
  • Color or play with Playdoh at the kitchen table or paint the basement floor with water
  • Play table games or make puzzles
  • Snuggle or give a back rub

“Oh,” but you say, “Those aren’t traditions. You are just playing with them.” Maybe so, but these are the things they want to do with us every time we are together. These are the things that make their eyes sparkle. These are our traditions, our memory makers. What are yours?

And in case you were wondering, yes, a new book at the beginning of summer is our newest tradition.

We love to hear from you, so please share your traditions with us!

By: Nancy Lohr

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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