A Sure-Fire Way to Make Memories for You and Your People

Years ago I wouldn’t have said yes.

But I’m not the same person now.

Years ago, the practical side of me would have come up with ten thousand reasons it wasn’t practical for us to book a hotel room in the morning and be sitting by the pool hours away from home the same afternoon.

Years ago I failed to realize how fast time really does fly. I lived mostly unaware that moments make memories and memories make life meaningful.

But, like I said, I’m different now. Time has a way of putting life into perspective.

So when Ashton—who’s home for spring break—said she’d love to drive to Palm Springs before heading back to college I said “yes”. Almost without blinking an eye.

In truth, the trip wasn’t practical. Ashton’s college friend came home with her for the first few days of spring break (when you live in southern California your kids’ out-of-state friends tend to want to visit…which we love). They’d gone to the beach, hiked the Hollywood sign and even gone snowboarding. We were to drive her dear friend to the airport and have the last few days of spring break with Ashton all to ourselves.

The night before her friend left, Ashton mentioned she’d love to go to the desert. But we have a life and schedules and that pesky little thing you probably have, too: It’s called “work”. Plus, she’d already had a week’s worth of fun. Palm Springs? Really? I mean. Come on.

Totally. Not. Practical.

But I knew a trip to the desert was more than a selfish whim—it was a time-honored tradition for us during our kids’ Spring Breaks.

This trip meant keeping things the same even as they become different.

So despite being totally impractical,  I said yes.

Yes to the drive. Yes to a day off. Yes to poolside reading. Yes to burned noses. Yes to long, leisurely dinners, which turn into deep, meaningful conversation.

Yes to tradition. Yes to memories. Yes to being together.

Yes to us.

Because this is what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.

Even if for just one night.

So how do you start traditions? The kind of traditions that flavor the uniqueness of your family, friends and relationships? The kind you keep?

The kind that mark your life.

When I was a young mom I desperately wanted to create happy memories for my family. I’d hear about a cool idea—a certain craft, a special food, a unique activity—and immediately set about implementing the idea with my people. And while the food or craft or activity always proved fun, none of them ever stuck. Enjoying them felt more like experiencing a copy rather than an original. Mainly because it was.

Here’s what I’ve learned over years: the best traditions aren’t always the ones you plan into being, they’re often the ones that morph into becoming. Our fondest memories happen when we do something that brings us joy, and then we do it again. And again. Eventually the “thing” becomes our unique way of doing life. Our tradition.

Traditions can be as elaborate as a yearly vacation or as simple as a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter day. Two things make a tradition: joy and consistency.

The simplicity or complexity of a tradition is not the point. Traditions aren’t measured by their extravagance but by their experience. Traditions are anchors in the midst of ever-changing seas. 

The more things change the more we need a few things to stay the same. Click To Tweet

Which is why traditions are important to make. And even more important to keep.

I’m typing these words as I sit by the pool but many of you will read this as snow falls deep outside your door.

Whether we’re poolside or fireside, inside or outside, let’s not neglect the moments that make memories. While I’d never advocate living every day throwing practicality to the wind, every once in a while there’s a bit of wisdom in a whim.

Sometimes we need to make a memory. Keep a tradition. Shake things up. Toss practicality to the side, if only for a day.

And just say “yes”.

P.S.  Did you know Jesus’ family had traditions?  Check this out:

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.

-Luke 2:41-42




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