We headed to the Christmas tree farm yesterday to cut our tree, a week or so ahead of our usual last minute schedule. (Yay, us!) This was mostly due to Lupine's calendar management skills, and noting that cutting next weekend would be too late, due to some plans on our schedule later this month. Duly noted.
We wandered through the grove of spruces and firs, overhearing other families with younger children taking part in their own versions of the same ritual. And I remembered the many past seasons when we have done the same. The four of us together, in the woods, saw in hand. Sometimes with a baby tied on, sometimes with a toddler face planting in the snow, but always together.
And though our life looks little like it did in the early years of parenting, our tree cutting ritual remains.
Perhaps, at its heart, childhood (and parenthood) is simply a long, repeating chorus of the traditions we hold dear.
Some we love and maintain for a while, and then let go when the time is right – our weekly Sunday brunch or nightly walks when the kids were young. Others continue on, despite the growing up happening around them. So we hold onto our family read-alouds before sleep, we never miss a maple tapping season, and each December brings batches of Solstice Spirals from the oven.
And though my children have grown more quickly than even I anticipated, we're still here, saw in hand as the light fades, choosing our tree.
Despite the countless bumps in this parenting journey – and even more so in our journey through life – we have created a few simple traditions that bring us back to where we truly belong. To family, to togetherness, and to the things that truly matter.
And for that I will always be grateful.