Traditions are a huge part of our family. Some revolve around meals, others revolve around places we visit at different times during the year. To give you a sampling, every Valentines we head to our favorite local spot for Chinese food. The kids come with us and we go home and watch a movie after. Every spring we host a traditional Seder dinner with as many friends as we can pack in our house. We go through the Haggadah and enjoy each others company. During birthdays we make special place mats, a tradition my mom started with my sister and I. For Sean’s birthday he must have his favorite homemade blueberry birthday pie and a trip to the Shenandoah for tubing.
The official definition of tradition is ” a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society for a long time”. We have many of them and chances are if you are friends or neighbors or even aquaintences we have brought you in to be a part of traditions at one point or another.
Knowing this, it is no surprise that we were excited when Jill and her family invited us to Lakeside, Ohio for a week. Lakeside, Ohio was founded in 1873 and generations of her family have spent warm and steamy summers on the cool shores of Lake Eerie. It was truly unlike any place we have ever visited. Everything was within walking distance. There were kids riding bikes up each street in a way you can only imagine in the movies. There were arts and craft projects during the day, concerts every night, and everyone in town gathered on the pier for a 9PM sunset. It was like summer camp and even better, each camper/person you spoke to had a family member that had come to Lakeside generations ago that started the tradition of heading to this tiny town each summer.
One afternoon, Jill and I headed to one of her family members cottages and peered at all of the black and white photos of her relatives standing on the same big porches we were. I was in love with the fact that it didn’t matter where you ended up living, that is was important that each summer you ventured back to Lakeside. As a family we soaked in the history of this tiny town. We went fishing early in the morning off the dock, ate at the Patio for donuts, collected lake stones to paint and took day trips to nearby Put-In Bay. I fell in love with the tiny streets lined with by historic vibrant cottages decorated with buntings,and twinkly lights and American flags. I left Lakeside with such a deep thankfulness for how traditions shape us and our family and how when we share them with friends we welcome the opportunity for new traditions to begin. Until next year Lakeside…