My father and I often drove to the local hot dog stand for lunch yeas ago, wolfing down two mustard and sauerkraut dogs while listening to talk radio. I didn’t know it then, but it was a tradition I’d recall fondly long after that hot dog stand moved on.
Traditions are like that. They begin out of the blue, entrench themselves in our lives and then become part of our shared history.
As a father I don’t plan to let traditions off that easily. I’m always thinking of new things to do with my boys, little practices that might one day turn into full blown family traditions.
For starters, whenever the boys and I food shop at Target I buy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the car ride home. After buckling the boys in I unwrap the candy and hand one cup to each of them. “Cheers,” I gently instruct them, tapping my cup into theirs in a celebratory fashion. Now, it’s time to eat.
Only the new tradition doesn’t always work. Sometimes the boys clamor for Kit Kats or other candy treats. Lately, Benjamin has started “cheering” other goodies, like lollipops, and Elijah refuses to return the favor.
Other potential traditions have stalled on the runway.
I occasionally ask Elijah, 4, if he wants to catch a Colorado Rockies game this summer – without Mommy and his little brother. I can’t think of anything more fatherly than taking in a game with my oldest son, carrying him on my shoulders and treating him to all sorts of sticky sweet treats.
Elijah seems nonplussed about the proposal so far, and that’s being generous.
Am I pushing too hard? Shouldn’t family traditions flow organically out of our day-to-day machinations? Perhaps, but sometimes my boys beam with pride when we “clink” peanut butter cups. And it deposits me back in our family car, listening to Soupy Sales on WNNNNNBC with my Dad, the kind of memories that never fail to make me grin.