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Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

How to Find the Perfect Family Tradition

Jenifer DeMattia

I had several scattering thoughts during my first pregnancy. All the hopes and dreams of a first time clueless mommy-to-be. Of course by week two, most of the dreams were squashed because I was a paranoid mess, and I never slept so dreaming was not even an option at that point. Babies have their specific ways of telling you what they need, especially that you will not likely be the mother you envisioned.

Around the time my son turned three, and I was pregnant with his brother, one thing I remember specifically thinking about was the lack of tradition in our family. We followed the usual stuff, fireworks on Independence Day, a trip to the pumpkin patch on Halloween. But the truth is Santa still terrifies my son, along with the thought of a rabbit coming in our house and leaving a basket. He called the pumpkin patch, “The town of creepiness”, and every craft attempt just turns into a request to throw everything and blame it on a bomb dropping. We join in the celebration of each holiday with the standard spectacle, but I was feeling a lack of tradition in the sense of not yet creating something just for our home that really stuck. Something just for us.

But a few days ago, I had a realization I never had before. It came to me when I told my son that this month is my birthday. My kids both flip out when you mention the word birthday. Yes it means something special, like presents and decorations, but more importantly it means some kind of treat will be there, including fire. A double whammy of excitement for two crazy boys.

In fact, my son loves birthdays so much that he often throws them for his stuffed animals and superhero action figures. He had a party for a banana once. And his pinky finger. And when I told my now five year old it was going to be my birthday his ears perked up like a puppy dog, he ran to his room, grabbed a stuffed animal, and proclaimed we would plan the “Most best birthday Ever Ever” for…“Mr. Cute”…his stuffed polar bear. Oh well, I was a close second place perhaps.

But there it was. My realization. A tradition has been born, thanks to a bright-eyed, dirty-blonde haired boy. Sunday morning birthday parties. He began by describing Mr. Cute’s home life, his preferences, likes, dislikes, and hopes and dreams. It turns out Mr. Cute lives on a mountain in the snow. He enjoys watching spaceships from the mountaintop and he lives with an army of “Invisible sharks” who keep him safe from the evil villain…”Fire Claw”.  Wow. What a life to celebrate. And thanks to Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, Mr. Cute had one heck of a shindig. 

My son decided to stack the cinnamon rolls like a mountain for the delicious cake. I let him get messy. I watched him laugh, and I let him control the story. He even taught me how to put the icing  (or snowy ice as he called it) just right. The key is to apparently…”PUT It Everywhere”!

And there it was. My realization that I was foolish to ever think I could create a family tradition that the kids would love because family traditions can only be ignited by the minds of our children. The most loving, magical minds in the existence of anything. There are just some things a mom-to-be does not need to worry about before their children are born. Through the messes and the crazy, our children will help us remember that love is sweet, life is a party sometimes, and that family traditions find us.

The following FTC disclosure: “Disclosure: This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.”