Posts Tagged 'Family Traditions'

Crossing the (Wisconsin) Border into a Legacy

Three grandchildren, six games, one jigsaw puzzle, two movies, a jug of cider, a bag of popcorn, a box of graham crackers, a package of marshmallows, chocolate bars, M & Ms …plus all the real food we might need for a couple of days weighed down our car as we drove north to Wisconsin last weekend. Our destination was Green Lake, the charming town Tom and I discovered 42 years ago.

Other than Quincy, it is the place I have returned to most.

Surely there are trendier Wisconsin destinations like Lake Geneva or Door County, both of which I also love, but sleepy Green Lake holds memories of seasons of my life and keeps calling me back.

25 years old, looking for a weekend getaway from the city with my love in our young marriage, we found our way there. We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. The next year we went back, listening to a Carter-Ford debate while we drove. We returned the following year too, following the same script. Always the same tiny fishing cabin. No, we don’t fish.

Fishing for seaweed.

We took a little time off to have a few kids but started going back again, squishing everyone in the same little cabin. They loved it, we loved it. We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything and added throwing a football around.

Fall after fall, Green Lake was always on the schedule. We worked around football games, high school jobs, crazy schedules and sometimes sold extraneous stuff to cover the costs. It was always worth it.

The first year the oldest was in college, we went to Parent’s Weekend instead. Oh sure, we talked about doing both, but it was just a fantasy. We had one weekend to spend every fall and Washington University got it. Then University of Iowa, U of I and finally Purdue. Wonderful times indeed and no regrets, we were onto something new.

A pretend adventure at sea.

Green Lake waited politely. After a 17-year break, we returned with all our kids and their kids and easily fell under the spell of Green Lake once again. Green Lake 2013 Post We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. We still rented the fishing cabin but added the larger lodge for our crowd sized group.

Five more years flew by sans a trip to the town until last weekend. Tom and I and the “Bigs” as we call grandchildren # 1, 2, & 3, did a perfect reenactment. Including the football that got tossed all the way into the town square. The grand adventure occurred when it landed in the river, but a dramatic rescue ensued. No doubt that story will live on for decades.

Always a puzzle on hand.

Just like always, We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. Like five years ago, we also built a fire and roasted s’mores right before the flashlight walk when they stayed up way later than their parent’s policy. Oh well.

Walking to “town.”

As we dropped them off, the question, “Can we go back to Green Lake next year?” was already in the air. The legacy was clearly passed to the third generation.

Yes, my loves, we can always go back. Even if just in our memories and photos, as the imprint is deep and near at hand. But I put it on the calendar just in case!

Hope for the best,


Three Components of a Good Tradition

Most of us participated in some sort of tradition on the 4th of July even if that only meant hearing the boom of someone else’s fireworks.

I hope your intentionality went a little further than that.

Traditions hold high value to me. Ask my kids, we have a LOT of them!

Traditions are part of the fiber of continuity that links the past to the present, gives hope for the future.  They provide a rhythm to our day to day…season to season. We know the script and that is very comforting…and not just for our kids.

Opening ceremonies is one of our Family Traditions

But how do you decide which traditions to keep?

Well that’s an hour long presentation I would love to give to your group but meanwhile, here are a few tips.

A Good Tradition is:

Chosen…wait, don’t you just do it?  Maybe at first but for it to be a GOOD one, it must be a choice. That means whatever you choose must fit you and your family including your time and your budget.  Review often.

Enjoyed…Seems like a duh but many of us have endured traditions that we just didn’t like…trying to fit too many events in a day, food you no longer like, staying up too late.  Ask yourself:  Are you still having fun?  Is this meaningful?

Flexible…Circumstances will occur that will change your best laid plans, count on it.  Cars break down, kids/you get sick, and job changes lead to schedule changes.  That doesn’t even include the biggies like new locations and changes in the composition of the family.  A good tradition will survive all attempts to sabotage it.

How do traditions flow in your family?

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