I’ve been thinking a lot about our family traditions lately. We just celebrated the twins’ seventh birthday, and with that, tons of emotions come to the surface. It reminds me of the things we did to create a new normal in our lives when they were born.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about memories. Things that made me happy, things that made the boys happy, and things that I actually remember. Having three children, anxiety, and getting older all have been really hard on my mind. I wish I could say I remember every milestone, but I just don’t. Some of it is due to sleep deprivation, some is due to trauma, and some is just due to my “mommy” brain.
With all of that being said, it’s made me realize how important family traditions are. Some are worth keeping, but some we might need to let go at a certain point. It’s also important to start new family traditions.
So, how do you decide what to do?
Here’s what my family is doing, and here are some things for you to think about.
Instead of the traditional birthday party, we’ve done a “NICUversary” for our twins each year around the time they came home from the hospital.
Their actual birthday brings some memories of trauma for me, but the days we brought them home from the hospital were each times of joy. We wanted to celebrate them during this time each year.
However, they are now seven, and they want an actual birthday party with their school friends.
While I’m not ready to let go of their NICUversary quite yet, I am open to having a more traditional birthday party too. So, we are inviting their school friends to a party for their actual birthday, and we are inviting family/family friends to their NICUversary later this summer.
Since there are two of them, I think it’s good that there are two parties, and it’s still being fair to Mr. B, since he also gets a party each year.
I’m a little scared to start this new family tradition, but I think it will be good for all of us.
One day, I may not feel the need to do a big party for their NICUversary, but for now, I still feel a big celebration is in order.
Our Other Family Traditions
Along with the twins’ birthday, another family tradition we have this time of year is the Memorial Day Parade. Now, this isn’t a tradition that I have fully embraced in the past, but have learned to love over the years.
It started as a way to distract Mr. B and ourselves from the stress when the twins were in the NICU. We wanted to do something as a family that was fun. While it was hard to be away from the twins, we did have fun at that first parade.
When the boys came home, we continued the tradition.
Having twin toddlers at a parade was stressful for me, and I really considered ending that tradition. It was hard to keep track of them, they whined about the candy, and were afraid of the loud fire trucks.
But they continued to ask each year to go, so we kept going. Honestly, I’m so glad we did.
Now that they are all older, it really is fun for all of us. We don’t have to worry about the boys running away anymore, and we can all sit and enjoy the massive amounts of candy thrown at us.
We then come home, and grill out in the backyard with family or friends or who ever is around. It’s become a nice way to kick off the summer.
Things to Think About
When it comes to family traditions, you (and your family) really need to think about why you do them. Is it something you still enjoy? Or is it something you do out of obligation?
For our family, I think we still enjoy the things we do year after year. Over time, however, those things may change, and we need to be open to changing too.
As you know, I’m not huge on change. But, if it’s something that is just adding stress, is it really worth it?
So, we work to end certain events and replace them with things we do enjoy. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.