Word Count: 498
By Peg Scarano
Traditions were not a large part of my childhood. Oh, we had a few, but nothing really retains a special place in my heart. So, when my husband and I started our family, we were determined to initiate some traditions our girls would carry with them throughout their lives and, more importantly, pass on to their children.
Every Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Scarano family (usually 12 to 18 people) would all gather at General Herkimer Home for a day-long picnic. It was probably one of the longest days of the year for me because once we got home, everyone needed to be cleaned up for school the next day. We made a tradition of Rock being the first person in the pool each summer. The 4th of July always meant fireworks – from the littlest of sparklers to the huge illegal bombs that scared me to death. In the fall, there was the dreaded “leaf day” tradition – when all five of us would be put to work with rakes, brooms, a blower and bags to clean up the leaves in the backyard. On the first day of school, we had to get up 10 minutes earlier so there was time for the dreaded photo shoot on the front porch. Every night before bed was story time. We read a story to each of them until they were old enough to read on their own.
Many of my newly established traditions revolved around Christmas, including baking Christmas cookies; making every Christmas memorable with one special gift among all of the necessity items; stockings filled with little treasures; reading The Night Before Christmas together every Christmas Eve (by phone if necessary); Rock would deliberately stall present opening Christmas morning by telling us we all had to eat breakfast, while he showered, shaved and polished his shoes. A fire needed to be started in the fireplace before they could even peek at the tree. When they were really little, we had to go and get my great aunt and in later years, my mom or Rock’s mother before we could open gifts. They suffered through them all.
Over the years, the girls developed their own tradition of friendly and ferocious competitiveness. They made a competition out of everything! Whether it was who could make their bed the fastest, win the Nintendo game of choice or stay up the latest – you name it, it was a competition and it continues despite the fact they all live in different states.
Since we are still awaiting the birth of our first grandchild, the success of my particular established traditions has yet to be determined. At this moment, I can only pat myself on the back for the fact all three girls bring homemade cookies to share over Christmas and that this will be the 38th year in a row we have read The Night Before Christmas together. I have initiated play. Now let the games begin and may the best mom win.