There is a sign that hangs above our front door in our home that says, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” It’s amazing how powerful those words can be on a daily basis as moms. We have the opportunity to do a million little things for our children that will one day be the most cherished memories. Generation after generation … our children’s children will reap the memories that we sow. I know this to be true, because I now carry out the small, yet magnanimous tiny traditions for my daughters that my mother and grandmother did for me.
A baker, I am not; however, I can still remember that at each and every birthday party I had as a little girl, there was always a pink strawberry cake with pink strawberry icing made by my mom. So now, year after year, I make the same cake for my daughters. I remember my mother’s cake being the most delicious and beautiful cake that I’ve ever had, every single year. As you can see from my cake picture, it looks far from beautiful, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My mom told me that her cakes always looked the exact same as mine did. It’s amazing how we perceive things, especially our childhood memories.
I conveniently became sick whenever my grandmother came to visit when I was a child. Still not sure how I got away with that, but I’m thankful I did, for this is one of my most cherished childhood memories. During my sick day (cough, cough), my grandmother made me peanut butter saltine crackers with a few sprinkles on top, the cure for all colds (even the fake kind). Now each time that my daughters get sick, not only do I make them the same snack, but nostalgia washes over me and I, too, feel warmer with love just thinking of my grandmother.
When I was in high school, our senior year project was to create a scrapbook about our life. One of the pages in my scrapbook were lunchbox notes from my mom. On those not so good days in school, I remember opening my lunchbox to get a little note of encouragement and it really boosted my spirit. Even on those really good days, just having another simple reinforcement made my day brighter. I now carry on this tradition and write notes to my daughters in their lunchbox to read at school, and my husband and I leave notes on their doors during the month on February for Valentine’s Day, telling them the many reasons why we love them. From personal experience, a thirty second written love note leaves a lifetime imprint on the heart.
One of the greatest things about being a mom is that we get to pick and choose what “little things” we get to turn into traditions and memories. And it doesn’t always have to come from our own childhood. One of my best friends in college told me about how her mom always put M&Ms in her and her sisters’ popcorn bowls while growing up. Maybe it was the smile on her face and in her voice when she told me of that tradition that made it sound so special. Maybe it’s the fact that I love her and her family so much. Maybe it’s that perfect combination of salty and sweet in one bowl. Or maybe it is all of that, and that’s why it has become our tradition during movies and play-dates in our home.
My daughters are too young to fully understand the sign that they see daily above our front door, so it’s my job to show them until one day they not only understand the words, but they truly believe them, and then the cycle will continue. Thank you, Grandma and Mom, for the many sprinkles of “little things.”