Monday, April 4, 2016

Tradition: The Hunt is On!

We live in the land of tradition. Texas A&M University (TAMU) holds tradition in the highest regard,  and its commitment to preserving and promoting its long-standing beliefs, customs, actions, and ways of thinking can be seen, heard, and felt not just on campus but throughout our community.

I have an affection for traditions of all kinds, and have enjoyed learning about and even taking part in the university-based but community-supported traditions for which I am eligible. Similarly, I have enjoyed building a tradition-rich life for my family. By incorporating traditions from Tom’s childhood, traditions from my childhood, and brand new traditions created with my children in mind, we’ve established ways of celebrating holidays, special occasions, and milestones both big and small that feel beautiful and authentic to all four of us, and to our extended families as well.

I refuse, however, to go overboard. While we have many Christmas and a few Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, and birthday traditions, I don't need - nor do I want - my family to have elaborate Labor Day, Flag Day, or Tuesday traditions. Mama doesn't have the time, energy, or budget for all that!

Since Will's first Easter in 2007 I have searched for the perfect Easter tradition. Yes, we celebrate with Easter baskets and by going to church, making and eating a delicious meal, and spending time together, but I had always wanted a little something more, especially for the kids. And this year we finally found it: a neighborhood Easter egg hunt.

We hit the neighbor jackpot last summer when my friend, Rebecca, and her family moved into the house across the street from us. Not since childhood have I lived next-door to - or even near - a neighbor I'd ask for an egg, let alone ask to take care my kids on an afternoon I needed to work or didn't feel well. Now we have neighbors who are friends and friends who are neighbors; my literal village has become my figurative village.

A few weeks back Rebecca suggested we co-host an Easter egg hunt, and because I had been toying around with that idea myself, I immediately agreed and the planning began. Another friend quickly added "The First Annual" to the title of our egg hunt, and so just like that, a new tradition was born.

I live across from and Rebecca lives next to HOA-maintained, public space lots, so we were able to use both of these spaces and both of our front yards - essentially the four corner lots at a T-intersection - for our egg hunt. We hid (and eventually just started throwing into the lawns) HUNDREDS of eggs stuffed with candy and little toys, and in just under 15 minutes the 11 children in attendance gathered almost all of them. (I do, however, know of at least two eggs still hidden in my yard, and I bet there are a few more scattered around across the street.) After hunting for eggs, the kids ate cupcakes, drank lemonade, took inventory of their treasures, played blongo ball, and blew giant bubbles while the adults talked and laughed and ate a few cupcakes themselves.

Traditions can't - and shouldn't - be forced. To "stick", traditions have to develop naturally, at the right time and with the right people. I couldn't find the perfect Easter tradition back in 2007, or in the eight years that followed, because the perfect Easter tradition was waiting for me in 2016, with these incredible friends, at the corner of Honeysuckle and Westchester.

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