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Family Traditions


By: Michael Aun


Every family should have its traditions. Our collection is so long I frankly cannot recall them all.

I remember when my son Cory got married to Casey. He called me one night and said “Dad, we want to invite the whole family over to our house for Thanksgiving!”

“That’s very generous Cory. What can we bring?” He gave me a one word answer… “EVERYTHING!” And for every year since the whole family invades the digs for Thanksgiving.

The same drill happens on Christmas Eve for us. Each of my sons typically have Christmas day commitments so we just move the celebration up 24 hours. We grill the steaks and eat till we bust. Then everyone takes their little ones to view Christmas decorations.

Mysteriously, while all the gang is gone, Santa drops by with literally 100+ presents that litter the floor all around the Christmas tree. And then bedlam strikes when the little ones return, attacking the stack of presents with reckless abandon.

Another family tradition is the weekly visit from my twin grandsons Cameron (Yogi) and Keenan (Spike) and my granddaughters Ava and Ashley. Their parents drop by around 4 p.m. and they wreak havoc on anything that’s not nailed down. If they are not outback on the playground equipment, they’re swimming in the pool. When darkness falls, it’s on to the toy room which has every imaginable toy.

Our newest granddaughter Adelaide Olivia, who is only four months old, will join the Sunday hoopla as soon as she’s able to get her wheels rolling. Her first foray will probably be on the swing set out back.

Interestingly, the playground equipment in our backyard was built nearly 40 years ago by Corley Brothers Lumber Company in Lexington, S.C. The kids liked it so much that we had it moved to Florida when we moved in 1989.

They seem to have an affinity for the ones their dad’s played with decades prior. No matter how hard you try… you can’t break a Tonka truck of a miniature John Deere tractor.

We actually invent reasons to have a party, be it birthday, anniversary or whatever. Never does Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July or any other noteworthy holiday pass without us breaking bread. Lucky for me, I’m the only person who drinks in my family. I’d go broke paying for booze and beer.

Traditions… we have never missed an athletic or academic event for our children or grandkids. We try to attend every function, painful though some may be. Cruel and unusual punishment is the best way to describe day long dance concerts.

Whoever invented “dancing” should allow the kids to leave after their group is complete! They hold the munchkin’s hostage until every class has danced. Most of these events can take up the better part of a day.

We celebrate every victory and commiserate over every defeat with our progeny. And… many times, the defeats are more common than the victories. Why celebrate? The reason is simple… we may never pass this way again. Life is brief. Our presence on this earth is but a speck on the backdrop of time.

Never miss a chance to let your family know how proud you are of them. Etienne de Grellet (1773-1855) once wrote “I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do, any kindness that I can show to anyone, let me do it now and not postpone it for I may not pass this way again.”

Out grandest gifts to one another is our entire family wrapped up in each other at these priceless events. Make your own traditions. They will make you feel cozy and safe. They are guideposts in our lives.

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® was awarded the Certified Speaking Professional designation by the National Speakers Association in 1983.