I’m not sure how or when our multitude of family traditions entered my parents household, but there were certainly some memorable ones, and some not so much. Traditions of great joy and happiness. Traditions which filled our home with fond memories, which bring a smile to my face even today. Even the not so much traditions, still have a warm spot in the depths of my hardened soul.
So now that I am a father, I ask myself, which traditions do I want to share with my new family? Which traditions were fond enough to me, to enjoy them with my new son? I’ve been pondering these thoughts lately as we enter the second year of my son’s life. Soon enough he will be able to fully enjoy the festivities that family traditions bring, as well as taking out the trash afterword. Here’s a couple old traditions, let’s see which one is worth sharing with him.
The first tradition that comes to mind was started by my parents. They decided it would best serve our perishable souls, and our Lord, and their egos, to force us to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to read the scriptures. Word by word, line by line, precept upon precept, chapter by chapter, month to month, and year upon year, until we all festered into bitter, resentful, very tired and quite ornery, teenagers. When the winter’s wind swells were up, and the waves off the California coast were firing, our friends would ask us to go surfing with them in the mornings. ‘Sorry Mike, but I have to read the bible at 5:30 tomorrow morning. Well actually, every morning. So no, I can’t surf. Call back when I turn eighteen.’ Then in high school they sent us off at five in the morning to study at the church every morning. So now I ask myself, do I really want to respect my parent’s traditions? Should I instill in my boy the love that my parents shared with me and my brothers? No. No I shouldn’t. There’s a tradition that I dam straight to hell. Or me, we’ll see how that goes.
One of my all time favorite traditions just happens to be frowned upon by my parents. My brothers started this one before my time, and they were kind enough to share it with me when I become of age. By the time I was old enough to enjoy their exciting tradition, they had already been working on their booger walls. Whoever had the least boogers on their bedroom wall was deemed the wiener. Their prize was either an ass kicking by the other four brothers, followed by mummifying them with multiple rolls of tape, then rubbing their gagged and bound body all over their own booger wall. Well, better than someone else’s booger wall, is what I always said. Take any random Saturday when we were locked in the house to clean it for eight hours straight before we could go to the beach, and that is what we would be doing instead. My oldest brother seemed to always win even though his wall was always the fullest. Maybe it was because his nickname was ‘Bloody Boogers’. That deserves a win by default. It stuck through middle school until he was strong enough to start inflicting some serious pain, especially because he became a body builder.
Just because we loath a tradition, does that make it any less than a tradition? No. Every Saturday for years, we were locked in the house to clean, for eight hours straight. Regardless of if the house actually needed that much cleaning or not. So that’s five boys, each doing eight hours in one 1,700 square house. That equates to 40 hours, or an entire work week in one eight hour shift, all on spit shining the house. Of course, there was really about 10 hours of actually cleaning that took place. But that’s what we got for having an ex-farmer self-proclaimed ‘workhorse’ as a father. And would I keep this tradition going for my kids…..absofreekinglutely.
What a wonderful tradition for five boys within seven years of each other. Now, when it comes to passing that tradition along to my son. I would not directly oppose such a thing, and I know traditions are meant to pass down from generation to generation, but I also can’t bring myself to introducing something like that to him myself. With any luck they will come up with a similar tradition on their own. Just don’t let me know about it, really.