Family rituals - on the wonderful, and the poignant

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Birthday’s are a big deal in our house. We have a birthday boy coming up this weekend, and we are all hands on deck planning and prepping the experience. We decorate rooms in the dead of night, so the birthday boy gets a surprise. We plan cakes weeks in advance. We unroll streamers to ‘see what happens’, we browse Pinterest for party ideas (that’s really only me) and we blow up and chase balloons around for ages. We love parties.

I find that these annual traditions are both wonderful, and poignant. Another year with my boy has passed. We have soaked it up, reveled in each other, and stretched each other into new versions. But I just can’t quite come to terms with another year gone.

My mama heart feels the stretch and the passing of time so acutely.

Tonight we are preparing the first of his birthday cakes (we celebrate with a few cakes over a week or so) and I can’t wait. I can though, you know what I mean!

What helps to ground me into enjoying the moments with these boys is to make rituals. We do the daily routines, grounded in moments of fun like our daily malted milk before bed/rest time, and we do the bi-annual photos so we can hopefully capture one where all four of us are looking at the camera at once (rarely happens) and we do birthday rituals. Like decorating their doors with streamers, and their rooms with balloons. We are slowly but surely building the traditions in our home and it feels, oh so nice. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the bittersweet, I lean into these rituals. They really anchor me into the moment, and what we are creating today, not what has slipped by. They help me feel good and really celebrate.

What rituals do you use in your family?