All traditions have to start with a time and a place. Our family had pretty much no regular traditions until recently. Sure, we have our gingerbread party every Yule. Every year we generally host a “Refugee Thanksgiving” (giving credit to my aunt for the name) where friends that have nowhere else to go for the holiday come and share it with us. We always order out for food for birthdays, or go out to eat, if we can get transportation. We try to make it to the renaissance faire if we can, but generally we don’t end up making it. Aside from that we don’t have too many traditions at all.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t because we haven’t tried to start them! We’ve tried and tried but nothing seems to stick. We tried to have family dinners but the family never wanted to sit down to eat together, aside from my daughter. Family meals tend to be reserved to special occasions or eating out. We tried to have a family game night, but Oz gets too frustrated with playing kids games because he’s not terribly patient. He’s working on that. It’s also hard to find a game that everyone is happy to play together. Corde gets bored with the games that appeal to Beekee. The games that appeal to Corde are too hard for Beekee. Sander is really too young to play most of our games. Now we have Luca, who seems to enjoy being a huge distraction while we play. We’ve tried taking daily walks together, but Sander always gets frustrated because he can’t quite keep up and Oz is too tired when he gets home to go for a walk. Everything we’ve tried has turned into trouble.
Then last weekend happened. We were planning on all taking a walk down to the gas station to pick up some drinks and maybe some thing for breakfast. It would give everyone some exercise and we didn’t really have any food in the house. Not having a car makes things difficult and the whole family really wanted to go. Normally Corde and I just make the journey on our own, but I figured it was a Sunday and Oz was home to help so it shouldn’t be too bad. I didn’t think I could manage getting all four kids to the store on my own because it means walking along the road on a highway overpass. It was the perfect day to take everyone out for a walk to the store.
What I had forgotten was the cute little doughnut shop along the way, practically right across from the gas station. Every time I walked by there I kept thinking “We have to stop there one of these days.” Oz must have had the same idea because he noticed that the shop was actually open for the first time in either of our journeys and he suggested we do that instead.
The shop is a quaint little place with a whole wall of Coke memorabilia, some of it quite old. The whole place smells fantastic and you’re greeted with these bright, happy faces. We all ordered our food, pulled a couple tables together, and enjoyed. The kids were all so thrilled with it that they felt the need to compliment the owners about a dozen times. They begged to be able to do it again, so we decided it would be our new weekly tradition.
This week Corde was worried that we wouldn’t be able to do it this morning. Everyone might be too tired. It was raining, so we couldn’t go. We wouldn’t be able to do it because it was cool out and Luca might get cold. Sander didn’t seem in the mood to walk and probably wouldn’t be hungry, given that he’d been munching on a red velvet cupcake and some spicy nacho Doritos before we left. It was like she was making up every excuse under the sun to prepare herself in case we decided not to go. She’s always preparing herself for disappointment. That’s kind of been how she’s been ever since her father said he’d take her and her brother for the summer and then didn’t make it. We’ve been trying to get her to think positive, but it’s been a hard adjustment.
Much to her delight, about 10am Oz told the kids, “Alright everyone, shoes! Someone grab clothes for Sander. Fox, get the little bear ready. We’re going to be heading out soon.” Corde rushed off to help Sander find clothes. Beekee searched to find everyone’s shoes. I changed the little guy, got him dressed, and snuggled him into the Baby Hawke. Oz got himself dressed and got Sander’s diaper handled. In amazingly short time we were all dressed and ready to rush out the door.
Though it had been raining earlier, the rain had cleared up just in time for our walk. Oz and I held Sander’s hands as we walked across the highway overpass and Corde and Beekee stuck together. We walked through the little field instead of taking the long way along the sidewalk. The kids were racing in this space, happy to run instead of being stuck walking the whole way.
When we went in the kids took no time in deciding what they wanted. Everything looked so good, but the boys had to have the sprinkle doughnuts, the same kind my sister and I always chose when we were little. Corde had to have the blueberry version of the wonderful blueberry, strawberry, and creme doughnut she’d had the week before. Oz had these wonderfully delicious looking pigs in a blanket with jalapeno. He was tempted to get something else, but those were so delicious he had to have them again. I ordered a cinnamon roll kind of thing that was delicious and not nearly too sweet and an apple fritter for later. Then there was juice for the older two and me and chocolate milk for Sander and Oz. For us, this is pretty much a feast.
I know what you’re probably thinking, “This doesn’t sound like a particularly healthy breakfast.” We don’t care. It’s not about having something healthy, but about having something fun and yummy. The kids love the walk down there. The people who own the shop are incredibly friendly. On top of that, there’s nothing better than homemade doughnuts. It might not be as good for us as some other things we could choose, but it’s all within walking distance and we’re pretty limited right about now.
While we were there we got to talking about a lot of things. The kids, of course, wanted to talk about how delicious everything was. Who could blame them? The food was fantastic, just as it had been the week before. Corde had to mention that she thought hers was even better than the week before. It was extra wonderful with blueberries instead of blueberries and strawberries. She’s my blueberry lover. Beekee wasn’t at all disappointed that they didn’t have the fall leaf sprinkles this time. Sprinkles are sprinkles and good by him. Sander just wasn’t hungry from his earlier snacking and just wanted to drink his milk until we got home.
Not only did we talk about food, but we also talked about the reasons we’ll keep visiting the shop, even after we have a car and can look into other places to have our Sunday breakfast instead. My daughter, who is very practical, thought it was because the walk is good for us. Beekee said it was because we only want to eat doughnuts for our family day breakfast and there isn’t anywhere else to get doughnuts. When Corde pointed out there were other doughnut shops, he had to clarify. “There aren’t any others that have doughnuts with sprinkles!” Again, being corrected by Corde he smiled and said, “but they wouldn’t be as good!” Okay, on that one we all agreed he was right. Then they asked what our real reason was because it wasn’t the walk and it wasn’t how good the food was, though they were both good reasons. I told them how local businesses are going out of business because of giant mega-stores and chain restaurants. Mom and pop shops are losing a lot of business. They didn’t seem to interested in why they were going out of business, so I left it at that for once instead of going on and on as I usually do. I told them this was why we’d keep going to that same shop every Sunday. It’s very important to support your local businesses.
The kids are so excited about this local business. Corde wants to try one of everything they make, or at least one of everything that looks good. Beekee is determined to eat everything they make with any kind of sprinkle topping. Sander wants to eat whatever Beekee has each time. I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed with their selection. They’ve got a lot of things that look good there. Their selection changed between this week and last, which was disappointing, in a way, as I wanted to try some things I didn’t see there last time, but I saw some new things that looked too good to resist. On top of that we were able to hear what other locals have to say about the shop. It seems like everyone who comes in has nothing but good things to say about the place. This little shop is more than just a tradition for our little family! It’s a tradition for a lot of locals, definitely a sign of a good local business! They’ve been around for ten years and Corde, who thinks ten years is a very long time, hop
Luca decided that he was going to stay awake for this visit. He kept looking up at me with this curious look, almost as though to ask me what I was doing. He’d never really seen me eat before, and what few times he has, it hasn’t been this up close and personal. Usually he’s asleep while I’m eating, or laying on his belly on the floor. He doesn’t typically like being in a carrier of any kind, so he doesn’t typically get an in-my-face view of anything. Today he decided it was time to stare. I guess he was pretty curious about mama eating and what could possibly be so good. I can’t help but think how much he’s going to enjoy it when he’s old enough to appreciate the tradition too. For now I think he’ll have to settle with watching me eat.
Oz even enjoyed himself more than usual. Usually when we eat out he’s the first one done and eager to pack up and get on our way. He’s the kind of person that doesn’t like to stay stagnant. He always wants to be moving or doing something. Today, instead of being ready to hit the road, he kicked back and started to chat with the owner of the shop. They were talking politics and everything else. He kept having Sander come up to try and put his two cents in on the conversation because he didn’t really want to sit down. What’s the use in sitting if he wouldn’t be eating? He decided to put on Oz’s sun glasses and pretend to be Dad. Of course, doing that means he has to at least pretend to be interested in what the adults were talking about. He’s so funny about wanting to be an adult! If only he knew that most adults wished they were still kids!
As we packed up to leave each of the kids were given a bag to carry their stuff. They tossed the bags up on their backs like backpacks and carried on their way. Beekee said he was Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, but a girl one, which made Oz give him a funny look. “You can’t be a girl Ezio! He’s a boy! But there are other girl assassins.” Some people might be bothered that Beekee’s got such a thing with being a girl, but we just think it’s part of who he is at this point in our lives. We haven’t exactly been pushing gender identities on our children, so it probably shouldn’t be surprising. He likes playing with girl dolls and his sack-thing on Little Big Planet 2 is dressed as a girl. It’s all just who he is. We just thought it was cute that he calls all assassins Ezio!
The walk home was relaxing and warm. The sky had cleared up a little more and it was turning into a nice day. The kids took a moment to check out some flowers while they were at it. They always love to look at flowers. Well, they loved the flowers until Corde saw that Beekee was all but touching a bee. It was a sweet, friendly little honey bee. Corde was still terrified until we told her honey bees are mostly harmless. They just like to take their pollen and make honey. I guess they’re just too familiar with the wasps we’ve had around here. They finally did end up relaxing and checking out the flowers. We found some tiny white ones and some pretty little purple ones that remind me of daisies. We saw some baby’s breath up by the highway and an entire field of purple petunias that looked like they’d seen better days.
Once we got home we were all feeling pretty good about our day. We had a wonderful start to a family day, and learned some things too! We took some time to appreciate the beauty around us. Most of all, we had some great time together as a family. I can’t wait to do it again next week!