Day 12 of Blog-tember: almost half way there, ladies…I’ll be sad to see it go…won’t be sad to see me *never ever ever* use a tacky Clipart piccie again, though ;).
Tell us about a favorite tradition. It could be a family tradition or from a holiday, university, you-name-it. What makes it so special?
Every couple of Saturdays, my son will ask, “Mama? Is it theme night tonight?”. This usually means we’ll get in to cooking/party mode to get the theme night rolling. What are theme nights? It’s something my Dad started with us: every Saturday, without fail, to brighten things up, he’d cook a themed three-course meal. One Saturday it’d be Italian, the next Spanish, the next Greek – you get the picture. He’d spend all week looking for recipes and preparing his costume (perhaps a French striped shirt, moustache painted on and onions around his neck, and, yes, he would make a point of pretending to arrive, as the Chef, on a bicycle, or perhaps a Venetian gondoleer or, my all-time favourite, a Mexican mariachi, complete with hat, sequined costume and instrument – where he got that costume from, I’ve no idea!). Fancying himself as an English Pavarotti, the meal would also be accompanied by songs from the respective country: we’d get a hint of what the theme night was going to be as we heard him practicing in the shower in the mornings, but we’d never let on.
He took a great deal of enjoyment in his theme nights, preparing the food, the drinks, the atmosphere and we, as children, just loved it, loved that he loved us enough to plan and execute it and just loved being a part of it. The house came alive with laughter, buzzing with happiness. And now, so does ours, every few Saturdays, when my son asks for a ‘theme night’. We spend the whole afternoon thinking of what to cook, we make the costumes (none so elaborate as my Dad’s, I hasten to add, but I do what I can), I spend time looking at the atlas and reading about the country with my son and then we all move in to the kitchen to cook together. Then the candles are lit, the dodgy accents start flowing and – just like magic – the house lights up with laughter and buzzes with happiness.
I was thinking how amazing this is, that we are carrying on my Dad’s tradition and how very happy he would be to see us all so happy together, when, the other day, my daughter was crying, tired, and my son came running up and said, “Mama! Mama! Sing her the ‘Daisy’ song! She’ll like it!”. As I was singing her the Daisy song (“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I’m half crazy, just for the love of you….”), I was crying, remembering how my Gran used to sing it to me if I was ill or having trouble getting to sleep. Even after a good few decades now, as my son was born, and as I cradled him, I remembered the song and it’s become one of my ‘go to’ lullabies for my children. They’ve both been rocked to sleep many a time hearing it. I sometimes hear my son singing it to her when they’re playing before bed. I find it so poignant that this little piece of my Gran is now comforting my children as it used to my younger self.
I love it that, even though I live thousands of miles away from home and even though my Dad and my Gran have both passed away now, I am managing to pass a bit of them down to my children. To pass the traditions on. I often wonder what new traditions we will make and whether these will be passed on to my grandchildren. Perhaps they might even sing the ‘Daisy song’ to their children and enjoy family theme nights. Wouldn’t that be lovely.