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Schools have always done some sort of heritage project at some point usually during the elementary years. Having two children who joined our family through adoption has meant that I have come to dread those projects. Each family handles it differently but for us, it means that our kids only do what they are comfortable with because I am not going to create more trauma for them just so we can complete a school project. That’s why I’ve been very excited these past few years to see my children come home with “traditions” projects instead. These projects ask what kinds of traditions you have done during your lifetime and why you do them. Don’t get me wrong, there can still be some trauma elements to it but nothing like the dreaded heritage project.

Training the next generation on candy making

Many of the traditions in our house center around holidays, of course and one of them is this week! Every year for Easter, I make my children homemade candy for their Easter baskets. Besides a giant chocolate bunny, ALL of their candy is made by me. Every.Single.Year. Except this year. You see, I had spinal fusion surgery about a month ago and I’m still not at the point where I can stand for great lengths of time in the kitchen. Or anywhere for that matter. So for the first time ever, my kids are getting store bought candy. I know it sounds ridiculous to be sad about this. I mean it’s chocolate and any chocolate regardless of who made it is a reason to celebrate, right? The reason this tradition is so special to me is because my mom did the same thing for me when I was a kid. Most if not all of our Easter candy was made by her. After she passed away, I found tons of candy recipes, several for the same kind of candy with just slight differences. It took lots of candy making of each recipe to figure out which ones tasted most like the ones she made. I’m NOT complaining at all! Once I made the candy, somebody had to eat it. I’m pretty sure it’s a sin to throw away chocolate.

Sean showing off his latest ornament representing his start of piano lessons

We had plenty of traditions during other holidays as well but one of my favorites occurs at Christmas. When I was younger, I would also always get an ornament that represented something I did during that past year. My parents even got me a beautiful ceramic one of Bomberger Hall on my college’s campus. Once my mom passed away, my sister and I continued to get each other an ornament for that year. It’s the only Christmas gift we exchange. My children also get one ornament every year. So far my favorite is the one we gave our oldest this year. She had her first paid gig this year and it was taking care of our neighbor’s chickens while they were on vacation. Her ornament had a chicken on it and read “I poop breakfast. What’s your superpower?”

Each of these traditions are not only important to us in the present but they give us a glimpse of our past. The ones we carry on today show us not only where our family members may have come from but also what they did to show us love. Do you have a tradition of love that you celebrate with your family? Have you started a new one for your children or grandchildren to carry on?

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