Every parent wants to pass cherished family traditions down to their children. I am no different. When they are much, much older and settle in to a permanent loving relationship I want them to place a new "family" tree topper on the top of their Christmas tree, just as their father and I did our first Christmas together. We are still using that angel and every time I see her glowing up there on top of the tree I remember my husband telling me that we needed a new tree topper, one that held only memories of "us".
I love the fact that my four year old goes to the Cleveland Browns games with his dad and that we all go to the Indians games. We watch the games on television and both my husband and son have their favorite players they watch. Being football fans is a tradition we will share for years.
We have holiday traditions such as our elf , Fritz, who visits us every Christmas season. We celebrate Chinese New Year and Autumn Moon Festival. We have many family traditions, big and small. And one of my favorites is our tradition of taking time for iced tea. It may seem insignificant but it is huge in my book.
When I first started to date Brad we found ourselves doing all those date night things every couple does. We took in movies, plays, and even a monster truck show. We went to concerts and out to dinner. We window shopped on Main Street, USA. And we took our time. We got to know each other over glasses of iced tea.
This "taking the time for tea" tradition did not stop when we got married. It did not stop when we added the kids to our happy union. And this tradition is already being passed on to our children.
Last Saturday Matthew, my four year old, and I hit up the weekly farmer's market in our town. This is also a tradition that just Matthew and I share, started a few years back when he was still a little one in a stroller. Now that he is older he still looks forward to this weekly visit. We walk up and down the streets, taking in the colorful fruits and veggies at each stand. We discuss our planned purchases and what we should bring home to Daddy and then we make our selections. Matthew helps me select the very best looking corn or strawberries, he talks to the farmer's, hands over the money, checks out the tractors and wagons. Sometimes he even carries the bag, until it gets too heavy and he hands it back to me. Sometimes we see people we know from church or daycare, and he is always so happy to stop and chat with a friend of mommy's. I love these weekly excursions and miss them when our schedule can't accommodate them. This past week we had to run an errand after visiting the market and so in between we stopped for iced tea.
We sat side by side in the booth, both of us drinking iced tea, cooling off from the very sunny, very hot walk through the farmer's market. We talked about our fruit and veggie purchases and all of the sights at the market. We talked about how pre-school is going and about Mommy's new job. We talked about how things were going with Alex's transition into our family and about Matthew's plans to see a Cleveland Indian's game with Daddy the next day. We talked about the dog we plan to get next Spring. We talked about his friends and his China play group. We talked about his birthday. (This is a favorite topic of my son's. Even though his birthday is seven months away and there are numerous holidays to celebrate before his birthday he still wants to discuss his birthday party, in detail, every chance he gets.) We talked. And drank our iced tea.
I want my sons to understand the importance of being still. I want them to be able to slow down, to stop running from one activity to another and just "be" with someone. I want them to enjoy the little moments in between the big moments. I want them to always be able to stop and take the time for tea.
Prior to traveling to Russia to bring our youngest son into our family I was given a very special book as a gift. "The Three Questions", based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, is a beautiful story about the importance of living in the moment. The basic theme of the book is that the most important moment is the one you are in right now, the most important person is the one you are with, right now, and the most important thing you could do is whatever you can do for the person you are with, right now. This is easier said than done. There is no room in this "taking time for tea" moments for taking cell calls or checking email. There is just time for "being".
Hopefully when my kids are older they will continue to tell me what's on their mind. Hopefully they will always have the time to take for tea with Mom. Hopefully they will have learned, at the bent elbow of their iced tea drinking parents, the importance of celebrating those little moments, every day.