Monday, 3 September 2012

Making Memories

Just arrived home from a long day at the CNE, an annual tradition for most Toronto families. We've been going every year since our oldest was three. It's a thing. But this year we almost didn't - it's been such a busy few weeks, the thought of enjoying a sunny afternoon in the backyard with nothing to do was very appealing. Only the guilt of long-standing tradition won out in the end, and we went. And I'm so glad we did.

CNE, The Ex, cotton candy, Toronto funMy back is aching, my feet are sore, my shoulders are sunburnt and I'm feeling vaguely ill from the deep-fried-everything. It took us an hour to find parking and we had to hike in from a questionable neighbourhood in the west end. We spent a couple of hundred dollars in a few hours and the highlight, as far as the kids were concerned, was the dollar-store beads tossed out to the crowd in the Mardi Gras parade. All three boys fell asleep in the car on the way home and have now, one day before back-to-school, completely screwed up their sleeping schedules as a result.

Firewords, Cinderella castle, Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Disney vacation

But we all had a blast, kept tradition, and made a memory.
This, I believe, is important. We have a lot of traditions.

March Break is the big one - a week at Disney World. Obviously, unforgettably amazing. Pirate-themed hotel room complete with pirate ship beds and treasure chests for dressers, shipwreck splash pad, Spanish fortress pool, lost island playground, private beaches, meet & greets and meals with Mickey and Minnie and Tigger and Pooh and Woody and Buzz and, of course, the magic of Magic Kingdom itself - rides, characters, shows, parades, fireworks, reality merging with fantasy at every turn - Disney the way only Disney can do it, fun and fantasy to the Disneyth degree.

Edward's Gardens, botanical gardens, Toronto gardens
splash pad, summer activities, free activitiesIn June there's the street festival in the town where my husband and I grew up - bouncy castles, children's games, face painting, street vendors, patio pints and sausages, street performances of every kind. There's the CNE, of course, Labour Day weekend. Midway rides, cotton candy, petting zoo, ice show, beer garden, live band, air show, Mardi Gras parade. In October is the local fall fair - rides, hot cinnamon donuts, farm animals and a monster truck show.

apple picking, apple farm, petting zoo, horseIn July we go strawberry picking at a local farm. September is apple picking and hayrides. The beginning and end of summer vacation is marked by a trip to the botanical garden and hiking trails, a visit to the splash pad, and an afternoon on our favourite patio. We spend a weekend at the cottage with my brother and his family, another weekend camping with my other brother and his family. Every long weekend means festivities at the town square park and fireworks at sundown.

hay maze, Toronto ZooHolidays are filled with food and family, of course, but we have our own traditions as well. Easter means dinner with the parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, coloured eggs, a visit from the Easter bunny and hunting for foil-wrapped chocolates, but it also means a trip over to Centre Island for the Easter Egg-stravaganza - rides, bouncy castles, crafts and an outdoor egg hunt. Christmas means shortbread, gingerbread, Polar Express & The Grinch, not one but two Santa Claus parades, a visit to the mall Santa three towns over because that's the real Santa, tree lighting and skating at the town hall, and storytime with Mrs. Claus at the library - all before the big day with its presents and toys and visiting and big family dinners. Mother's Day we go to the zoo, Valentines and St. Patty's and Thanksgiving and Halloween we decorate the dining room and have our own little party. It's a tradition.

Everything's a tradition.
There's always something coming up, always something to look forward to.

And when the kids are all grown up they'll have years and years of memories of happy childhood happenings, and maybe start some traditions of their own.