Yesterday I wrote about traditions.  We have several in my family.  From red velvet cake on birthdays to holiday pies and Christmas ornaments, we have those traditions that bind us.  What also binds us are the memories that our family shares. 

Memories that we share as a family bind us through their emotional echoes down through the years.  Whether it was through laughter or tears, a moment happened that stays with us forever.  You know the moment.  It’s the “Remember when Dad….”  or it’s that look that you give each other when something happens and you both just start laughing. And no one else gets it.  For us, the “Bondini Incident” will always bring tears of laughter to our eyes. 

I cherish our family memories.  I still get a little misty over the memory of my dear one holding our first born.  But I grin at the memory of him reasoning with her over why crying wasn’t a productive way to get your needs met.  She was five-days-old at the time. 

I still remember my exasperation when we were half-way to the hospital for our older son’s birth and I looked at him and asked, “Can we talk about baby names NOW?”  He answered with our son’s name.  Said God told him when I went into labor.  It was a memorable moment between labor pains. 

I also remember our first trip to Disney with our first three children.  We stayed in a two-bedroom condo off property.  There are all the expected memories of Disney.  But, one of the strongest memories is of what happened when I, who was new to the use of a mechanical dishwasher, used dish liquid because I didn’t know it wouldn’t work the same.  I filled the cup.  Ankle deep suds and hysterical laughter.  To this day, it is a reference point for an out-of-control sudsing mess. 

Memories, for better or worse, are what form as life happens.  They hold us together.  They provide the reference points.  They are an emotional glue in life.  Usually, they just happen.  But we can have a hand in making them. 

Start a tradition, do something with a child, or a grandchild, or your family on a regular basis.  You don’t have to go to Disney for a memory.  I interview people as a part of my job.  One of the questions I ask them is about their favorite memory from childhood.  Usually it is something simple.  A weekly Friday night ice cream cone at Dairy Queen with their father, playing ball in the yard, fishing with grandpa, and Sunday dinners at grandma’s house are some of the things I hear.  I really enjoy the look on their face when they tell it.  They go back there for a moment.  Transported.

So, go for breakfast together on a Saturday or always cook Mickey Mouse pancakes on that day.  Have a family meal on Sundays after church.  Spend time together at yard sales.  Have a family game night.  Pray with your child every night.  Have a monthly picnic.  Buy an ice cream cone together on Tuesday nights.  Find something simple.  Just do it. 

What things do you do to create a family memory?  Share your ideas here.  But most of all, just start creating them.  When you do, you create that link to the past for those you love.  A signpost of good moments. 

Tomorrow: Our funniest family story, “The Bondini Incident.” 

Genesis 9:16

And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.

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Traditions are an important part of every family.  One of the questions we ask potential foster families is what are your family traditions?  A lot of times people go blank at that point.  but, we all have them.  They are an important part of every family.  A repetitive thing that is part of the fabric that binds us together.

One of my family’s traditions is a homemade red velvet cake for your birthday.  I use a recipe handed down to me by my dear one’s mother, the recipe that she used to make his birthday cakes.  It has a unique icing that is different than the traditional southern cream cheese version. 

When my children were small, we did the usual character or cookie cakes.  Only the adults had the red velvet.  Interestingly enough, after about age fourteen or so, each one decided on the red velvet.  So, what started as my husband’s tradition became the family’s tradition. 

So every year, I bake at least six red velvet cakes.  One for my dear one and five for my children.  Yes, I know I only have four children.  But this cake is so important to one of them that I must bake two on his birthday. He would give you the shirt off his back or his last dime in the world.  But, he won’t give you his cake.   His middle name is dessert! 

My family knows what to expect on a birthday.  A meal of their choice, the whole family at the table, and red velvet cake.  It is the tradition that birthdays at our house revolve around. 

God knew that traditions were important.  It’s why festivals were initiated, tents were erected, special foods were cooked.  Because we need to remember.  We need the cyclic events in life to bind us. 

More than likely, your family has traditions.  The moments that bind you together.  If you don’t, and your children are young, start one.  If you can’t think of one, borrow one.  My recipe is available! 

Joshua 4:5-9

And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.  And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.