A story from To a Child LOVE is Spelled T-I-M-E
It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it is making a great deal out of the little ones.
When I (Lance) was a little boy, the arrivals of Easter and Christmas were always marked with an overwhelming sense of anticipation that ran deep through our small country home. As twilight deepened to darkness on the Saturday evening before Easter as well as on Christmas Eve, the buzz around the house was not about Easter eggs or Christmas presents. No the excitement was fixed on the fact that at any moment we were receiving a personal visitation from the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, depending on the holiday.
The epiphany on the evening before Easter, for instance, always worked the same way...and never once failed to work its magic. As the darkness of the night set in, my sister and I would hear my mother suddenly call out from the kitchen, 'Hey what was that out there on the hill? Looks like a big rabbit hopping around.' We would race to the kitchen and peer out the kitchen window into the looming black, and mother would ask, 'Do you see it?'
Then suddenly, from the living room, would come a tremendous banging on one of the windows, we would race out of the kitchen to try and catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny's white paw at the window, but he was gone. Slowly, slowly, we would creep toward the darkened window where we thought the noise had come from, when the gigantic paw would bang another window where we weren't looking, and the explosion would drive us backward, often in a knee-buckling tumble, and always with screams of delight.
As soon as we had recovered and gathered our nerve, we would make a stealthy approach toward another window with hopes of discovering the elusive bunny, but that glimpse never came. He knew exactly where we were, and the knocks kept moving from room to room. The pandemonium would go on for perhaps ten minutes, and then the knocks would stop just as suddenly as they began. Moments later my father would come up from the basement, where he'd been working on a radio or something else, and was greeted with a dozen stories of all he had just missed.
Twenty years later, it was my opportunity to don the white gloves on the night before Easter and work the same Easter Bunny magic upon my little girl and boy. Though the years had passed, the thrill was the same. I raced around the house in the dark, banging on one window after another, while my kids screamed and howled and laughed and tumbled. If the snow was deep at Christmas, it slowed me down, but did not deter the delight of two children who will never forget those special moments.
That holiday tradition belongs to our family alone. I've never met another person who has had the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus personally bang on their windows. But I'll bet that when my children have children, that happy scene will be repeated again and again.
Here's the point. Laugh and play together. Create family traditions that are all your own, even if the neighbors look out their windows and think you've lost your mind as you race around your house pounding on windows in the dark. Our family traditions reminded me that we belonged to each other, that our family really was our family. No other family had the distinct honor or fun that our family had on these holidays.
Over the years these memories of intense joy rooted me to the past and became a source of strength. Traditions do not have to be expensive or elaborate or big. All you might need is a cheap white glove. But when the tradition becomes a part of who your child is as a person, the cost is of little matter.