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Pancake Day: Tradition and Ceremony in a Family

Months after my return to work and now that Arlo is settled in to daycare, I see that we are developing a routine around the house. I do not mention my husband, Dave, because his schedule maintained its rhythm and we fell into step with his days. Our household has a rhythm. It feels good.

One of my favorite things about our beat is the Saturday morning routine. Arlo and I call it “Pancake Day.” Dave/Daddy sings in the background as he gets ready for work,
“What do we want? PAN-CAKES!!
When do we want them? NOW!!”
He is a little salty that he cannot be a part of the pancake experience (but to be honest, he gets one as he walks out the door.) However, I know he realizes how important it is to me. Saturdays are my day with Arlo. There is no other day of the week that it is just the two of us anymore. It is like the “old days.” You know, like when he was three months old.

Lately I have been thinking about the idea of tradition and ceremony as it relates to families. There was not a whole lot of ceremony in my family growing up and, in a blended family, I watched as some traditions found establishment in one part of the family structure while bypassing others. Dave and I realized it was important to form our family foundation around traditions and ceremony. Often, in the twenty-first century, we think of tradition as relating to the holiday schedule, but my wish is to have regular tradition fold seamlessly into our family to form the web of security around us. For me, waking up on Saturday mornings and making pancakes with my son adds to this experience. Dave’s singing in the background and partaking in the goods in the few minutes before work, is also a part of it. In my mind, I have the fantasy that Arlo will learn to make the pancakes and over the years we will create new variations and eventually write a “Mom and Son” pancake recipe book. (But that’s just a thought…) So far, he seems to like pancakes. I hope it continues.

The Wanderlust Speakeasy Podcast recently aired a talk with Ana Forrest, founder of Forrest Yoga, titled “The Beauty of Ceremony.” It compelled me to begin thinking about the ways we can incorporate ceremony into our family life. Ceremony is another way to create rhythm in our days. It establishes the closing and opening of one situation to another, it binds us to those with whom we participate, and it establishes a sense of security and sacredness in our days. One thing that immediately comes into my mind is finding a brief moment of recognition with my husband and son before one of us walks out the door in the morning. I want to find a flash of mindfulness that cultivates a feeling of connection with each other before the busy day begins. Another common moment of ceremony in many families is the bedtime routine. Sometimes it is a whirlwind of craziness, but altering the angle in which we come into the experience – thinking of it as a brief ceremony before bed – will change the tone.

So tell me, what are the ways you cultivate tradition and ceremony in your life and with those closest to you?

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