Growing up, my family had very few traditions that we followed, and when I married, it’s been said that you marry not only your spouse but your in-laws as well. So sooner or later I thought I would be embracing their traditions, but little did I know that we grew up with a similar home life. Our parents were both hard-working folks and whatever free time they had, they spent it cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. There wasn’t much thought given about traditions besides the typical mass on Sundays.
I took my husband’s last name
as soon as we married; I don’t recall much discussion around that. I was young,
eager and excited to be a Mrs. so I even overlooked this as one of those
societal traditions that everyone just expects to happen. Looking back, I have
no regrets. Personally, it didn’t change my perception of my self and my role
as a woman. Contrary to everyone's feminist manifestos out there, it never felt like I was
subsuming my identity into my husband’s. If my two daughters decide to hold
onto their maiden names someday, it will not bother me at all and I will continue
to believe that this aspect of marriage is a personal choice and something that needs to be discussed with their future husbands if it ever posed a problem.
We named our oldest using my initials and my husbands, but the tradition of naming our children alphabetically came to us organically. The thought didn't come to mind until our second child was due to arrive -- a boy. We had some general rules that we decided to adhere to prior to having children. Having been named after a fruit, it was important that we named our kids something 'normal', pronounceable, and easily spelled.
Once the news came that we were expecting a boy, my in-laws began their campaign to name the kid after their own or their father's. The biggest contender at one point was John and oh, how I cringed at the thought. It met all of our requirements but I was pretty quick to ask my husband if he knew how many Johns were out there in the world wondering why they weren't named something else? I wanted to save my son from that same fate. I was relieved that my own father held no such expectations (why would he when he himself was named after a furry, red puppet on Sesame Street!).
Titanic the biggest blockbuster movie of all time came to theaters a few months before my son was born. Thus came his first name after the director James Cameron and his middle name after Drew Carrey on The Drew Carrey show that seems to be playing on TV every night at home. Our third child, another son helped us steer clear of the same problems we had initially and even cemented our plans to name our children alphabetically. The following letters, which were EF, provided little challenge and our biggest indecision was choosing between 'Finley' and 'Finn' for his middle name.
Our fourth child came as a surprise but knowing that a little girl was on her way provided so much excitement for the family! GH could've easily been Gretel, Gertrude or Genevieve, but instead we opted for something simpler and traditional - a complete change of attitude. Her middle name could've been Hermione or Helen but we fell in love with her first name so much that we decided to be redundant and use Hannah as her middle name.
Over the years, we have tried to lay down the law with the kids. Insisting that the next child born into this family will take on the next letters, which in this case I & J. I'm not sure how this tradition will play out for them in the future and I already can see it causing a problem, especially when we get to the unappealing letters like Q and X! Nevertheless, we can only hope that it is something that they'll take seriously. After all, there have been several halfhearted traditions that we have put aside because we just couldn't sustain them. A clear example of this is our yearly attempt to jump in the pool on Thanksgiving Day. It was a neat idea at first but over the years with the drastic change in weather ... we always end up wussing out.
It'll be interesting to hear some of your traditions, the ones that you formed as a family or even the ones that were passed down from older generations. I'm also curious to hear some of the things that had to go on the wayside because well, just like everything else ... life happened.