My husband’s parents and brother came to visit us for Christmas last year. We hadn’t had any holiday visitors since we moved to Iowa five years ago. Our first Christmas was difficult and a bit lonely. However, the ones following were amazing. We learned how to band together as a family and follow through with our own traditions.
Having family come to visit us was actually a strange thing at first, because we were used to doing it on our own. On Christmas night, my mother-in-law looked through our little kitchen window and said, “Doesn’t that look like a nice picture?” It’s a symbol to me of hard work, family love, and growth.
My brother-in-law, in the blue shirt, was eight-years-old when I met my husband. He was the baby of the family and cried when he lost board games. Now, he is 23, in college, and making his way through life.
My father-in-law, on the right, had just made his famous Christmas waffles with ice cream—a tradition we have carried on. The kids were reveling in Christmas joy and exhaustion, and we were all enjoying the quiet that comes with Christmas night. We were grateful our extended family had made the 18-hour drive just to be with us.
This is when things come full circle. You see all the hard work, dedication, and time you put into your family traditions, hoping your children will make lasting memories and pass them on to their own kids. That one day, they will say, “Remember when Nanah and Papa and Jordan came to visit us?”
QUESTION: What family traditions have you established that you hope will be passed down to future generations?
CHALLENGE: Make a list of your current family traditions by month. Decide if there are any you want to add or take away. Evaluate if they are creating the lasting memories you hope to give your children. Get input from your children.
Edited by Kimberly Price and Sarah Monson.
Image provided by the author; graphics added by Anna Jenkins.