Since my youngest child just celebrated her first birthday, I thought I would share with you an annual tradition I started when my eldest child turned one.
This isn't a grand tradition that my children will look back fondly and remember. It isn't one that involves a special song sung or a book read.
This tradition is one that, for the moment, is mine alone. My children won't get to enjoy this until they are adults...
... each year, as the birthday of one of my kids rolls around, I sit down with pen to paper and start to write them a letter. I try to tell them a little bit about themselves: what they're doing, what their interests are, developmental milestones, funny quirks. I also try to include my thoughts and feeling on parenting them at this time. I try hard to keep it to things that I think, when they are older, they will be interested in knowing... even things that I will probably forget myself by that time.
I haven't decided yet when I will give the bundle of letters to each of them. One idea would be to give the letters when they turn 18. But somehow I don't feel they'll fully appreciate them at that time. They won't have enough living under their belts to appreciate hearing their mom talking about them losing their first tooth. Nor do I think that the milestone of college graduation would be appropriate. I think I may end up giving these letter to my girls at the birth of their first child. Of course, one or more of them may end up not having children of their own. I'm not sure what I will do in that case. But to me, these letters are a picture into not only who they are (or were) at these various ages, but also what it is like to be a parent to a child at these ages. I hope my voice will speak to them from the past and give them encouragement as they start out on the adventure of parenting.
And if they decide not to have children? They will still receive the bundle of letters - though I'm not sure at what adult milestone that will happen. And though it won't be there to give them perspective on their own childhood as they embark on raising their own kids - it will give them a glipse of who they were as children - from the perspective of their mother. Hopefully that will be something precious to them.
Do you have any unique family traditions for birthdays that you would like to share?