Last year, Loren asked me to come photograph her family decorating their Christmas tree. She told me that she wanted to remember being there in the pictures and I could not have loved the idea more. This session was so fun and relaxed, just allowing them to be themselves in the comfort of their home, documenting one of their favorite traditions. After the tree was decorated, they enjoyed cookies and milk on the porch and played in our beautiful Arizona winter weather.
Even more important than the traditions themselves is the culture that traditions create in a family. They provide something to look forward to, something to anticipate. I could go on and on, and Google literally does if you search “why are family traditions important?” However, woven within those more “visible” traditions are the little habits we create with our family, the smaller, micro-traditions if you will. The way Mom weaves her fingers in her son’s hair, the way Dad plays with the kids every night before bed, the smile and side hug and “how was your day?” at bus pick-up—these are all seemingly insignificant traditions that make those family bonds stronger every single day. They say, “I see you, I love you, and I’m happy to be around you.”
When my oldest was a baby, we started a silly little post-bath tradition. I would take him out of the bath and wrap him in his hooded towel. We would smile in the mirror, and then we would run to wherever Daddy was and spin around and say, “HI!” really loud and silly. It sent him into fits of giggles. I don’t remember when we stopped this tradition, but it was probably when he got too big for me to lift out of the bathtub. He’s six now, and even if he doesn’t remember it, telling him about this little tradition sure lights up his face as he feels of our love and how we remember those times with fondness.
As a mom, I know I’m making dozens of mistakes every day. I have some not-so-great habits and responses woven into our days that do not strengthen my relationships with my kids and husband, but when I look at these pictures, I’m reminded that the little positive things I do matter, and that focusing on cultivating more of those can make a difference over time.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope these pictures are more than just tree-decorating. I hope they remind you of the dozens of tiny ways you show your people that you love them. And maybe, you’ll consider having someone (even if it’s not me) take pictures in your home so that you can remember those tiny moments forever.