Making Traditions

Being a part of a multi-racial, international family isn't easy especially when you throw in living in a foreign country.  Being parents we've had to make the decisions about which traditions to impart on our kids.

We would love for them to embrace all traditions, Romanian, American and Mexican but that's not possible.  Then there are the French traditions, which although are not part of mine and Cornel's culture - they are a part of Nathan's.  The past two years we have been traveling blindly trying to determine what traditions are worth exposing Nathan to and which ones aren't important.

I have to admit that Cornel has been an amazing person and has let me take charge of most holidays (and making them more American). He knows how important they are too me, and while I know that Easter is about more than a bunny and Christmas is much more than Santa - he has more than willingly accepted this and has let us pass this on to Nathan.


But even with all of the compromises that we make, there are always those seasons which are harder; harder for me than for Nathan or even Cornel.  Fall is one of those seasons.  I see all of these amazing pictures of people with their kids at pumpkin patches and apple farms - but we don't have that choice.  I would love Nathan to do "fall activities" to enjoy the season, but it isn't an option for us.


Then there are all of the Halloween posts and costume pictures.  Again, another American holiday which isn't celebrated here.  I don't have any cute pictures of Nathan in a costume, no trick or treat stories to tell.    This year, however, we are bringing the American holiday across the ocean and throwing our own party;  because every child needs a day to play dress up and eat candy.

There will be no official Thanksgivings, no fourth of july barbecues - but there will always be family and there will always be love.  And those are some of the best traditions we can impart on our sons.


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25 comments:

Kiddothings said...

I think it's great that you're throwing your own Halloween party. Maybe you might introduce that tradition to the French?

Moomser said...

I know how you feel! Although after many years abroad I've decided to just celebrate my holidays despite the fact that they're not recognized here.We have a Halloween party, I always have thanksgiving, true there aren't any pumpkin patches but we get lots of apples for baking (with cinnamon, which people here find very weird) and I get a few pumpkins at the store to decorate. It helps that I have a few american friends here (as well as some Brits, Aussies and South Africans - would you believe it?!) It's great that you're creating new traditions and continuing some of the old with Nathan!

vinobaby said...

Aww...I'd miss the costumes, but honestly, Halloween has just gotten out of hand here. I'd love to skip it and just play dress up instead. Cheers to you for doing it your way though. Nothing like creating your own traditions and memories. Enjoy!

Twisted Mummy said...

I like that you're bringing all the cultures together with their own traditions. Just thought of something...get a squash and carv it out like a pumpkin and light it up for Nathan? Then you can have it for dinner. Whoot!

Shell said...

The love is what counts! Though I still think you should all dress up anyway! :)

Minivan Mama said...

I think that would be one of the toughest things about living abroad. Love that you will celebrate anyways and make new wonderful traditions for your family.

Mark said...

What are you talking about, Crazy? Nathan is your little pumpkin!
Honestly, just look at those cheeks.
m.

Elena said...

That's great that you're doing this! I'm sure it is hard not to celebrate the things that you're used to. What a fun idea. :)

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

That is one of the trade offs with living abroad that I hadn't even considered. I like your idea of throwing a party to celebrate. They may not get traditional fall activities but your kids are going to get so many other fantastic benefits.

Adrienne said...

Wow - I could write a BOOK about this! Can totally relate - to this day (even tho we've been back in the states for 13 years now) Thanksgiving is still not that big a deal to my kids...except they love the food I fix and the time off work! (I digress already!) I have found with my kids that they have a healthier perspective on holidays than I could have ever imagined. They completely enjoy the festivity of it all, but that enjoyment is not dependant on it all being an exact certain way. I have always been big on birthdays and christmas - and we have traditions that go along with those - some that were born out of our time in France. For the rest, I grew to love being the "crazy" american who threw parties that were more fun than everyone elses. I started out by trying to "fit in" - then, just by learning the language and respecting the culture, I found I could totally be myself and throw costume parties and taco parties etc...and people loved experiencing our culture too!

It is crazy to always feel just a bit torn - but there's something in both of my kids that, I think, really benefitted from their bi-lingual/bi-cultural upbringing...
I mean fall is my daughter's favorite season (with all that entails) and she never had a taste of it before age 13!!

Kat said...

I cannot tell you how much I miss going apple picking, pumpkin picking or dressing up my kids! I have no photos of my kids during Halloween! We certainly celebrate Thanksgiving, but there is no 4th of July, for sure. Need the fireworks and a bar-b-que for that one!

Jessica said...

Awwww! I wish I could send you some pumpkins and hay and turkey and fireworks all in one big American care package! Don't forget though, that you are offering him something unique and memorable in place of those other traditions.

Kate R said...

Yes, this is one of the hardest parts about living abroad. Christmas here in Japan isn't (unsurprisingly!) a public holiday but that took a long time to get used to. Even if we celebrate our own traditions at home, it feels a bit lonely when everyone around you is just carrying on about their business! But it has made me realise what the important part of traditions/celebrations/gatherings is. As you say, love and family.

Kimberly said...

I'm sure it's hard not celebrating what you're used to, but you're so right. It's the love that counts.

tracy@sellabitmum said...

The love is totally what counts. Love you. xo

Tara R. said...

A costume party sounds like a really fun idea. Kids love dressing up. Creating your own family traditions, and celebrations is what is important.

Angie said...

What a grand idea - throwing your own halloween costume party! Could be fun for adults too!

Mry Jhnsn said...

I love that you are going to throw a party! Have at and let the ghouls and goblins come out, too :)

Adrienne said...

That's gotta be tough seeing all the pictures and events online. It would definitely make me home sick too.

Anastasia said...

We have the same problems with which holidays to celebrate, but not as bad as being in another country.
But I love the idea of throwing your own! We'll need pictures obviously.

Shellsea said...

What fall traditions does France celebrate? I never considered that pumpkin patches and apple orchards were only in America. I bet that a country that has been around for ten times as long has to have something fun.

The Anecdotal Baby said...

Wow! No Halloween, it's my favorite. But seriously, what an eye opener. I forget that not everything celebrated in America are traditional celebrations elsewhere. "There will be no official Thanksgivings, no fourth of july barbecues - but there will always be family and there will always be love." You've got that right and that's what counts. I love your idea of making your own tradition w/dress up and candy. What kid doesn't love a day of candy?! Have fun!

Kristi said...

I think you touched a nerve here for any of us who have experienced living in a different country. I can remember so well many of these same feelings when are kids were little and we were living in France.
It was hard being away from people we loved and knowing we were missing many of those traditions. Once the kids were in an International School it was a bit easier because we celebrated so many, including our own, countries holidays. But I remember many Easter Bunny hunts, Thanksgiving feasts, and other traditions that we did on our own.
We also had fun incorporating some of the Swiss traditions and we even brought a few home with us such as Three Kings Day and the special cake.
I guess this is a long way of telling you I understand...and it looks like many others do to judging from these posts. You will be richer from all these expericences...you truly will! :)

Jen said...

Oh, Barbara...that would be SO hard. I'm glad you are throwing a party for Nathan so he can dress up and eat candy.
Hugs XO

Tina @ Life Without Pink said...

What a great idea throwing your own Halloween costume party! Fun!

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