Family traditions are worth keeping alive for posterity

We need to go above and beyond to make special memories for our kids

In Summary

• The real joy of traditions is the sacrifices parents make to brighten kids' lives

A mother hugs a son
A mother hugs a son

No one told me that the days of prepping for Eid by buying new clothes, getting henna done and spending the nights at my grandmother's house with all my cousins would come to an end.

I might be in my mid ages now, but the images of these days are still crisp in my mind. The smells, the smiles, the colours and the joy that reverberated around the whole town is the spirit of the holiday that lives forever in me.

Celebrating Eid holidays was the highlight of our childhood. We didn't do any work, we always got new clothes and the best part was receiving money from family and neighbours. We might not have known it then, but the excitement for the little things was actually us being exposed to culture and traditions that would live in us forever.

Nobody warned us that these days would be different once we are grown. As teenagers and young adults, we still had some responsibility but enjoyed marking celebrations with family and friends. We couldn't really understand even at that moment that as adults, it would be up to us to make such memories for our kids. 

My son is two and for every Eid we celebrate in a foreign land alone, I find myself cooking and cleaning for days as a way to mark the celebration. He gets new clothes, stays home from daycare and I cook up a feast. He doesn't even know what is happening but I find myself yearning to set up the foundation of the same traditions I experienced growing up.

This extends to more than just festivals and big celebrations. Simple things that are not even traditional but are the highlight for every childhood are things we can turn into our own ‘family traditions.’ For instance, parents wholeheartedly agree that family vacations are basically the kids' vacations. Why? Because we have to work before, during and after vacations to ensure that our children are having the best time of their lives.

For instance, last weekend was our first official family outing at the public pool. My son had the time of his life there! He had so much fun, he slept for almost three hours that afternoon. Did he see his mother pack and lug several bags across town? No, he did not. He doesn't need to see my struggle in making his day special, he just needs to see that his childhood was made special by the people who care the most about him.

I want him to have the same childhood I did. Such an amazing childhood that the children don't realise that it takes hard work and sacrifices to make special memories for them. Only when he is an adult and a parent himself will he realise that the real joy of traditions is the sacrifices the parents make to create happy memories for their children.

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