What would make our two teenagers and our young adult daughter want to pile into the back of our sedan and go to Dairy Queen with us - their parents? Besides the promise of blizzards, it was the memories.
We have an old family tradition. It started when our fourth was born. It got crazy going out with two in high chairs plus two more wiggly kids. Instead, we piled into the minivan but we "ate in."
My husband would find the 50's music channel on the radio and we would pull into the old-fashioned hamburger drive-in where they still deliver the food while wearing roller skates. We didn't even have to get out of the car and everyone was together and happy.
Our kids were fascinated with the carhop's ability to balance food trays. I think they were secretly watching and waiting and hoping to see a big mess - one they didn't cause.
Tonight as we piled into the car we were a bit crowded. That minivan has become a gas conscious sedan and the kids' legs are all longer than ours. My husband found the 50's music on the radio and the kids started singing and remembering all of the many times in the past when we would have our oldies nights.
We drove to Dairy Queen but this time we went in. The kids were squished into one side of the booth, preferring that to one of them out in a chair. They were cutting up as I sat across from them, "treasuring" these memories in my heart.
In three weeks our second oldest will leave for her senior year of college and it has been a great summer - perhaps her last one at home. The years go by quickly and I am thankful for these family times.
When our kids are little and the floors are covered with toys and we are toting a diaper bag or two around it seems as if they can't grow up fast enough. But, they will grow up and all too quickly. It will be the fun memories that endure and the traditions you create that will draw you back together.