In this family, rituals, traditions and gratitude are a big deal, along with a deep commitment to the environment.
Brendan and I met in October of 2011, and, as cliché as it sounds, it was love at first sight. We both knew instantly that we were the “one” for each other. Within three months, Brendan had popped the question and a mere 11 days later I found out that I was pregnant with our first daughter, Madeleine. Nearly five years later we now have two beautiful daughters: Madeleine, three and a half, Avery, eight months.
Every day is both a fun challenge and a blessing. We absolutely love being a family, and being together with our extended families. Brendan and I have a deep respect for our respective family’s traditions, and want to pass on those loving memories and rituals to our daughters. Perhaps what we love even more, though, is to make our own traditions and rituals together. We want our daughters to be creative thinkers and to look back on their childhoods fondly with many loving memories of their devoted parents. For us, rituals are a way to break free of the humdrum of routines and schedules and carve out moments for learning and self-care. We always cook together as a family, and since she was just two years old, Madeleine has been helping out in our kitchen (she cooks with Daddy and bakes with Mommy). We make it a habit to always appreciate and talk about the food that we eat. We discuss what a balanced meal is, where the food on our plates comes from, how it was cooked and why it takes as long as it does to prepare—this really helps when the kids are being particularly impatient! Madeleine even helps us with our family business, a personal care company Elabloom, as it’s important for us to teach our daughters that hard work pays off, as well as what it means to set out a goal to accomplish along with a powerful intention to help achieve it. Madeleine contributes ideas to our business and is even the face our children’s line, miniBLOOM.
Another ritual we have incorporated into our child-rearing is practising gratitude and talking about things that we are thankful for. We hope that this simple daily step will always help our daughters to remain positive and to put their challenges into perspective. Afterall, when you have something to be grateful for, your challenges seem so much easier to overcome. Every night before Madeleine goes to sleep I ask her what her favourite part about her day was and what she’s looking forward to the most tomorrow. We want to instill an appreciation for reflection in our girls and encourage them to enjoy every fleeting moment of happiness, celebration, accomplishment, and to look for the lesson in every defeat and rejection. We even have a bathing ritual that I do with our girls where I teach them about body parts, taking care of themselves, and being healthy and happy about their body-image. Everything we do has intention behind it—whether splashing around in a bubble bath, or washing our hair, or applying moisturizer, we talk about each simple step of the ritual, why we do it and why it’s important. It’s incredible the amount of answers one can come up with when the only question is that classic, “But why Mommy?” This is a question we heartily encourage in our family because we truly believe that knowledge is power. It is our duty to empower our daughters to see all the beautiful intelligence and potential they possess and to never let anyone dim their shine.
Most importantly, we teach our daughters to love and respect the Earth for all its gifts. Our time spent in nature, whether that is a walk in the park or a day at the beach, is sacred. Maybe one day when they’re older, we can show them the overwhelming beauty of the wilderness and create some more rituals to help them form the best versions of themselves.
This is #1000families post number 202. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.
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