Creating family rituals......

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by timer lady, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Family has been on my mind a great deal since my mother's death.

    I've thought of all the family rituals & celebrations that Mom created. Mom, was in all honesty, the center of those family celebrations.

    The camping trips, annual cook offs, golf trips, etc, etc, etc.

    I've missed out on many of the gatherings because of emergencies & such from one tweedle or another. I'm not angry over that - it's just life with a difficult child.

    So I'm looking for ideas for more immediate family rituals. Celebrations of family.

    My dad has planted & is growing a chestnut tree from chestnuts that have fallen in his yard for each of us to plant in our yards. The tree in my dad's yard came from the family farm.

    I have peonies & iris's that have come from my parent's yard that started at the old family farm.

    We've put together recipe books from our cook offs; a new ritual will be the annual Christmas cookie bake.

    I appreciate the tradition - the passing on of history.

    I would like kt & wm to have a part of these celebrations; understand the importance of family rituals. I would like to believe that having celebrations of this sort would help my difficult children gain a sense of self - of permanency.

    Given the tweedles limitations, to put it kindly, what recommendations would you offer me for a family ritual/celebration - just one that kt & wm can handle? Keeping in mind that kt & wm tolerate being in the same setting with one another no more than 30 minutes or so. That wm cannot tolerate my presence for more than an hour.

    We used to go on annual camping trips with my siblings - kt & wm cannot handle that.

    It could be that I'm grasping at straws; could be that I'm in the midst of grieving & am having bittersweet thoughts on this "family of different addresses" concept.
     
  2. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Our family rituals have involved mostly just me and the kids for several years. And due to oldest childs panic and youngest childs age and middle childs busy schedule, sometimes they must be -------------flexible.
    Certain holiday things have always happened, from when I was growing up to pre kids to having kids for me. husband can particpate or not. Yes we bake a LOT during holiday, and for any even half special day I make themed cookies. Oh, it's Flag Day? likely I will have made cookies shaped like flags. This happened even when I worked 2 jobs and was in nursing school full time 90 mins away. As babies the kids sat beside me or next to me, and as they grew they could help (or not)
    Tuesday has always been spaghetti for dinner day, ever since I was a teen and there were commercials on TV- "Tues is Prince Spaghetti Day" seemed to me if I had one day a week I did not have to THINK about what tomake for dinner, I would take it. LOL. SO no matter who is home or what is going on, on Tues count on a pot of spaghetti. More recently we also made Fri "fish fry day" The kids used to hate fish, and I do not insist we have it fried, we have it broiled or poached, too, but we are having fish and I did not have fish on Fri as a pattern growing up.

    I think smaller rituals kinda just happen. Like when I am taking one kid in car to an appointment (hey, until the last 2-3 years, I always had to take ALL kids with EVERYWHERE due to lack of help) we have a few CDs of young childrens songs, and we put that on and sing at the top of our lungs and LOL with each other. I did not exactly think of that as a ritual right away....it was just something I did, and the kids decided it was a ritual.

    Holidays have lots of rituals, things we just did, and they became expected and normal for us. LOL. My kids no longer even LIKE most of the Easter type candy out there, so I did not buy any of that which we do not like last year. Well..............the kids got pretty mad at me! LOL. They said but MOM! it's our ritual! Nevermind noone would EAT it, we had to have those darned Peeps!

    Rituals here are something that just happen, develop out of habit. We try things all the time, and if they work, we say hey lets do that again. and again. and then it becomes a ritual.

    It is now a ritual, if you come tell me you have a headache, stomach ache or if you are crabby, sad, whatever, the first thing I am gonna say (unless you are having an asthma attack, heart attack or bleeding out) is ------------- go take a bath. Nevermind I am a nurse and they did not teach THAT in nursing school- thats what "I" have always done and thats what I always say. My cure for nearly everything is ..go take a bath. Now my kids say the same thing. when we get bad family news there is a fight over the bath, LOL, cuz everyone wants in there to unwind and destress.


    It is a family ritual if we will be on road more than an hour, we ARE stopping for "coffee" Yeah, right........not coffee, coffee for me, whatever for everyone else. Seems my limit in car with the kids was approx 1 hour, and eventually it was a habit, and now it is a ritual, and the whole family knows and expects this is what will happen. When we had far less money, what we got to have was lots cheaper, and if a friend was with, we had to explain it was just a cheapie thing-----
    Just like if a docs appointment is more than 3 hours away we are NOT going home, we ARE sleeping over. That began when I was at my sickest, but, see, habit became ritual, and -------even tho this last year Imight be able to do some of those trips in one day- the kids said but MOM! it's our ritual! And so it is. ANd we do usually enjoy the time together without outside interruptions.

    When we first became estranged from my family (husband has no family) holidays were SO hard, and we could not get into the swing of things. I wanted to carry over my family of origin rituals, but.........it just was not working out quite right. All my life until 2001 we spent every holiday with ALL my sibs and their families at my moms. SO at first we just tried different things, different ways to do things and we kept the things WE liked. Now even tho my kids are older, we still set out cookies and cocoa for santa, and everyone still gets a stocking at christmas. Easter Bunny STILL hides eggs, altho sometimes the kids hide them. LOL.
    On christmas I do not cook. That is our ritual, now./ Why? cuz noone ever was very interested in eating a meal- so for us, it works out kinda nice, NO meal- no fuss and bother- instead we play with moms new toys, cuz yes, it is a ritual I still get toys, cuz I LIKE toys, and me and the kids are very busy playing with toys, crawling around on the floor. Nevermind I am almost 50 and my oldest is 18. We nibble. cheese and crackers, cookies, juice, bagels, maybe mini tacos and spinach dip with vegs, but no formal meal, and paper plates. But for someone else the ritual is the meal, and the meal prep and meal cleanup.
    4th of July is another very special ritual filled time. I LOVE fireworks and parades and will travel up to 2 hours to see them. when I worked, I often rearranged my schedule with coworkers, worked lots of strange days and times (compared to my usual) and often went without sleep just cuz I like parades and fireworks THAT MUCH. now my kids do, too. BUT sometimes it was not so much about the event as it was the time before the event. We would go v ery early and sit on a blanket and be part of the crowd, outside, together. Oh lots of years my oldest was quite the handful, and very difficult, but........I had lots of patience and tricks up my sleeve and accepted that maybe for her it was too much. husband seldom participates in much, pasrtly due to his mental - cognitive stuff and partly due to his physical stufff, but.......I went ahead anyway.

    Sure there have been LOTS of times when GFGness caused problems-----and lots of times my health or the kids was a problem. I had an electric scooter when I could not walk, and many times the kids had to dress me..........comb my hair, brush my teeth, but we went on. Lots of times Buffy had to have a prn medication........a few times she had to stay home or we had to cancel.......but not that many, more often we modified things.

    Rituals? we have a special pillowcase and when a kid goes to sleep nite before birthday, I switch their pillowcase over..and hang streamers and balloons thru the house. when I was ill, the kids did it for each other. :) We have this :censored2: birthday cake that sings and dances. It is beside the cake for every birthday. It is the ugliest silliest darned thing, and last year it kinda got itself lopsided, and it's voice got deranged. BUT the kids said NO you cannot throw it away, so it still sits out on a birthday. DId I mean it to become a ritual? No. It just happened.

    YIKES I have to get checked out of library, am supposed to be in court in a couple mins, LOL, BYE! Good luck. I bet you will find you already have some rituals in place.
     
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'><span style="color: #3333FF">Linda, I think family rituals are important, just as church rituals are important in some families. It gives you something in common with the group.
    difficult child and easy child are as different as night and day but they can come together over shared memories of rituals or trips. I think it's important to do this to help give them roots. A sense of belonging.</span></span>
     
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Thanks dreamer - something to consider.

    Fran, I agree that rituals are important to a sense of belonging. I'm trying to integrate daily rituals, dinner together as a family, a cup of tea with kt after school.

    wm, is a whole other matter. With him, it's been taking Sally the wonder dog up to visit & going out for a walk with the both of them.

    I guess I need to build on the small daily stuff & hope the tweedles can begin to appreciate family & the rituals someday.
     
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    What about creating a family newsletter that will be sent out to grandpa and other family members. One could come out in Summer and one in Winter. Each family member could contribute bits and pieces to the newletter. You could have the tweedles list their accomplishments, their growth, their hobbies, etc. You could include favorite drawings, pictures, etc.
     
  6. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Linda, I don't know if difficult child will remember or have the emotional attachment to the rituals that easy child or the rest of us do. It's when they are together that it seems to click.
    Who knows?
     
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although most families live together and have ongoing rituals, I
    think for your family you may have to identify a smaller number
    of activities as family rituals. Some examples might be verbally
    identifying things that are already shared and labeling them as
    "ours" or "yours"

    WE always enjoy sharing hot chocolate in the winter, don't we?

    Should we ask Daddy to fix the hotdogs our family loves on the
    grill tonight?

    Isn't the time walking our dog wonderful? Everyone in OUR family sure loves Bobo.

    I think your family cookie get together was really neat, by the way, &
    combined family memories are super. In the long run, however, I
    think our special needs children need simple reinforced themes
    to trigger attachments. Nothing extraordinary. Just things that
    are true of THEIR family. DDD

    PS: My children don't even like corned beef and cabbage but they
    smile as they say "I guess our family is going to eat that Irish
    dinner AGAIN. Do we HAVE TO listen to those corny CD's? We'll
    get them out of the cabinet!" LOL!
     
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was an only child with few stuck in stone family traditions. The few that I had I carried with me to my family. We always had oyster stew on Xmas Eve. We always went out to look for Xmas lights on Xmas Eve.

    I always took their pictures in their first day of school clothes waiting for the bus.

    Another friend of mine always made cookies for them on the first day of school. I like that and may do that for the grandkids if I am around.

    We always had corn beef and cabbage on st pattys day. I always got little stuff for them on the small holidays like valentines day. We did easter up big. We had egg hunts even when they were grown.
     
  9. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    the after school tea sounds nice. so does walking dog with wm. Yes, in my opinion those are also rituals. Some things do not necessarily start out as rituals but quickly become rituals. And each of us might carry some over from our family of origin, but we also can create opur own for the families we create. One year quite by coincidence I ran into a friend at a town parade and we decided last minute to gather and have a cookout, the following year it happened again. The 3rd year she was somewhere else, and my kids said hey mom! Its tradition to cookout with them after this parade! Oh uh yeah..guess it kinda had become so.
    And yes, I agree, they contribute to a feeling of roots and belonging and are a comfort. It was hard some of our extended family rituals fell by wayside when the family estrangement happened, but we created new ones, tailored to ourself at this time in our life. Some were similar, some were altered and some were brand new. and hey we ARE family, me, husband and our 3 kids. Family are the people you love and care about. Doesn't matter where we are. Sure sometimes we have had to make do- I used to work all holidays and most weekends and lots of nites........flexibility. Now my easy child works. But we jiggle things a little or she does some of our rituals with her friends or sometimes the rest of us do them without her. And sometimes I myself was far too sick to carry out the rituals, and maybe one of the kids might step in or we would alter the ritual slightly- like when I could not roll out the dough and cut it, we cheated and bought ready tobake "just this once" and when I could not set up the tree to prepare it for decorating, my SON - bless his lil heart, the tree was so much bigger than him, HE somehow got it up. I sat in my chair while they decorated--

    Some rituals sometimes kids are glad when they cannot be done..BUT LOL- afterwards sometimes they regret that the ritual did not happen as it always has, and sometimes you find out the next time, maybe the kids will institute it becuz they DID miss it.
     
  10. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    the after school tea sounds nice. so does walking dog with wm. Yes, in my opinion those are also rituals. Some things do not necessarily start out as rituals but quickly become rituals. And each of us might carry some over from our family of origin, but we also can create opur own for the families we create. One year quite by coincidence I ran into a friend at a town parade and we decided last minute to gather and have a cookout, the following year it happened again. The 3rd year she was somewhere else, and my kids said hey mom! Its tradition to cookout with them after this parade! Oh uh yeah..guess it kinda had become so.
    And yes, I agree, they contribute to a feeling of roots and belonging and are a comfort. It was hard some of our extended family rituals fell by wayside when the family estrangement happened, but we created new ones, tailored to ourself at this time in our life. Some were similar, some were altered and some were brand new. and hey we ARE family, me, husband and our 3 kids. Family are the people you love and care about. Doesn't matter where we are. Sure sometimes we have had to make do- I used to work all holidays and most weekends and lots of nites........flexibility. Now my easy child works. But we jiggle things a little or she does some of our rituals with her friends or sometimes the rest of us do them without her. And sometimes I myself was far too sick to carry out the rituals, and maybe one of the kids might step in or we would alter the ritual slightly- like when I could not roll out the dough and cut it, we cheated and bought ready tobake "just this once" and when I could not set up the tree to prepare it for decorating, my SON - bless his lil heart, the tree was so much bigger than him, HE somehow got it up. I sat in my chair while they decorated--

    Some rituals sometimes kids are glad when they cannot be done..BUT LOL- afterwards sometimes they regret that the ritual did not happen as it always has, and sometimes you find out the next time, maybe the kids will institute it becuz they DID miss it.
     
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