Tag Archives: tradition

Dear Daddy, Happy Father’s Day

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Dear Daddy,
Today is Father’s Day and how I yearn to hear your voice, to smell your pipe tobacco, to sit on the porch and talk with you, reminisce and laugh. Oh, how proud you would be of your grandchildren, reveling in their accomplishments; James in the Navy and what a fine young man he has become; Meghan, TJ and Topher with their music and how they love to share their talent with the world; Frankie with his endless stories and contagious laughter.
You taught me so much about the deep value of family and tradition, appreciation of nature, Mother Earth and gardening, and most of all, you taught me about love. And I am doing my best, daddy, to pass those same things along to my children. I feel your guiding hand on my shoulder as I navigate this journey called parenthood with its ups and down, its twists and turns, its challenges and triumphs and I am eternally grateful for the foundation your love laid for me in my life.
I miss you, daddy, every single day but I know your spirit is beside me and lives on through me and through your grandchildren. Today I am sending extra hugs to you in heaven. One day we shall meet again and push off from the banks of a beautiful lake in an old fishing boat and spend a day fishing together in the sun. I’ll even let you catch more fish than me this time! And if you could bring your pipe and read some Uncle Remus stories to me while we fish, that would be simply divine!
I love you forever and always, daddy.
Your little Pawtucket

© 2016 therealityofraisingafamily. All rights reserved.
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It Takes a Village

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Something has gotten lost in the translation in our society over the years. There was a time when families, extended families, lived within close proximity of one another. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles all lived nearby. We knew our neighbors. We all helped each other out whether it be with raising the children, fixing the plumbing, raising the barn, sharing vegetables from our gardens, breaking bread together on a Sunday evening or just sitting on our neighbor’s front stoop chatting as the sun set. We talked and visited, we cried together, we offered support, we laughed, we shared.
Today everyone is spread out far and wide. We only come together for major occasions, if we’re lucky. If we are fortunate enough to live at least relatively close by, we are too wrapped up and consumed by our jobs and other commitments to activities that we don’t or won’t make time for each other. Maybe next week or over the summer or at the next holiday, then we will make time. Our families and our loved ones are our hearts yet we fail to recognize that or them and we give them our “leftovers”, only the time that is left over in our overly busy, constantly churning schedules. Maybe if we made spending time with our family and friends a priority we could recharge the love in our hearts, recharge our very essence because being with those whom we love and care about, with those who love and care about us would fill us with the energy of love and support that we need and crave to help pull us through the endless days of constantly going and running and working. 
We all know the saying, It takes a village” and I believe there is a great deal of truth in that. That saying usually is in reference to raising children, and that is spot on, but I think it can be expanded to all of us. We all need that village, that inner, close circle of folks who offer support and a helping hand and love and a listening ear. And that village needs to be through personal, face to face interaction, not through social media and electronics. We need and crave actual human interaction and touch, a hug, a pat on the back, a smile (not a smiley face emoji). Our villages are an integral part of who we are, an embodiment of our human nature, the very core of our families. Let’s make a concerted effort to recreate our villages, make that time a priority and strengthen our souls once again. 
© 2016 therealityofraisingafamily. All rights reserved.

The Family Dinner Table

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For our grandparents, our parents and even for some of us who are a bit older, it used to be that this idea was a given. We all sat down together for dinner! What else were we supposed to do? Where else would we be? We probably did not realize how that time together was part of the glue, the very foundation that held our family life together. It was simply something we did every night after everyone was home from school and work. It was a part of our daily lives. A time to share and break bread and reflect together on the things that had taken place in each of our days.

Sadly, nowadays this is not a given. Of all times when this tradition should be vitally important, it is often ignored. In this modern age where we communicate so often through technology, be it cell phones, emails, social networking websites, etc., basic face to face, eye to eye, human contact is not experienced enough. But we are social creatures; we need, desire and crave that human touch, human interaction. We desire to look into someone else’s eyes and see their soul reflected there. It’s all well and good to express your feelings and talk about your day’s happenings in a quick post on Facebook or Twitter, but let’s be honest, are we completely honest in those posts? Do we really want to share with all those people our most intimate and private thoughts and feelings? I don’t think we do. And even if we do, something, by the very nature of such communication, gets lost in the translation. A smiley face cannot possibly express true, unabashed joy. In the same way, a sad face doesn’t express the true depth and breadth of sadness. Is it just a little ouch or is it gut wrenching sobs?

Who is better than your family to share these most honest feelings? Whether gathering around the dining room table or sitting on a blanket having a picnic, the mere act of sitting down with each other, passing the potatoes and breaking bread can be a healing part of our long, often arduous day. We can let our hair down, smile across the table at our spouse or children, refortify our beings-both physically and emotionally, by simply sharing that little half an hour together.

The key here is to do this without distractions such as a television or the interruption of phone calls — we turn our phones off during our meal. This is a time to focus on one another, on our family, to let each other know that the other people are more important to us than all those other things that so often clamor for our attention.

A dear friend told me a long time ago that one of the things that her grown children always reminisced about when they got together later in life was how important that family dinner time was to them in their memories. They recalled that how no matter how crazy their day had been, they knew that at dinner they would all gather and there would be someone there who cared about them and would listen to them.

Those are the types of things I hope my children remember most.

So often, we get caught up in thinking that what will matter most to our children when they are grown up and on their own will be their memories of material things we were able to give them. But when you think back on your childhood, do you remember what you got for your 12th birthday or do you remember the times you and your family were just hanging out, being together? Those happy and warm memories, they are the ones that fill you with those warm, fuzzy feelings of yesterday.

We all need a little time in our day to reconnect with other people. Life can get crazy busy, schedules often get so heavy we don’t know how to find the time, but let’s try to remember how important those face to face connections are, for ourselves as well as the loved ones in our lives, and make time on a more frequent basis, to sit down at the family dinner table together.

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 © 2016 therealityofraisingafamily. All rights reserved.